Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #33 The White Stripes


The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!

Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.

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#33 The White Stripes

Ahh, The White Stripes: possibly the only band on this list that my dad likes. Ha! That's a compliment, though – pops is into blues and rock from way back when, and there's no one like my old man to act as a barometer for how much substance backed the old-time swagger that propelled Jack and Meg White into national view. On the shoulders of "White Blood Cells" and follow-up "Elephant," The White Stripes gripped listeners by the ears with a pretty basic approach: keep it simple and make it wild. Much of their music feels louder than what a duo should ever be able to produce, and Meg White's uninhibited hit-or-miss drumming nevertheless carries all the uncertainty that made the best of both the blues and punk movements so sublime. So why'd The White Stripes make it over droves of other noisy minimalists? Both of them knew their roots, and everything The White Stripes has ever released sort of feels like one continuous tip of the hat to the era they came from. That sensibility has served them well – from the moment on "Hotel Yorba" when Jack White sings, "I'm so tired of acting tough, I'm gonna do what I please. / Let's get married!," all the way to Meg's matronly advice on "Passive Manipulation," they're old fashioned. They're punks but they're close-knit punks. When Feist told us it's cool to love your family, well, maybe we know who she copped it from; The White Stripes are this decade's testament to keeping things fundamental.

Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.

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