- Artist: Jack White
- Album: Lazaretto (2014)
- Purchased at: Third Man Records (thirdmanrecords.com) for $20
Jack White is a revolutionary artist in many ways. Obviously his bands have shaped the musical landscape for the past decade and a half but now but he is turning music media on its head as well. With the release of Lazaretto, his sophomore solo album, this year he introduced the world to the ultra LP.
What is the ultra LP? It is basically a vinyl record with a lot of accessories; it’s a toy. Among the features are one side gloss and one side matte finish with one side playing from the inside out. There is also hidden songs on each label in the center of the LP; one at 33 speed and one at 78 speed, making it the first record to ever play at 3 different speeds. The best features of the ultra LP are the etched spinning angel graphic near the label that you can see turning in the light reflecting off of the record as it spins and the alternate intros to one song, which intro you hear (acoustic or electric) depends on where you drop the needle.
What does all of this mean? Not much really, it feels like a gimmick, albeit a good one, that ultimately distracts from the music. The music is solid but nowhere near as monumental as White has been in the past. The gimmicks of the ultra LP will likely outlast the legacy of his songs on Lazaretto and that taints the record a little bit.