Jack White’s music, both with bands like The White Stripes and The Raconteurs and on his solo albums, has long been rooted in the blues and rock of America’s past. But it’s his own past that White is interested in revisiting in 2016. He has a new album, Jack White Acoustic Recordings: 1998-2016, due for release this week. It’s a compilation featuring alternate and unreleased tracks from White’s entire career, including his tenure in the aforementioned bands. To help promote the release of this new double LP, the website jackwhiteiii.com includes an interactive timeline with all sorts of White-related miscellany and memorabilia, including commercials, posters, flyers, handwritten lyrics, and rare TV performances. For those yearning to fall into a White rabbit hole, this is a great opportunity. There’s more here than most fans will be able to absorb.
The main page for the timeline shows a large circle with a Roman numeral III (for Third Man) in the middle. The various points of interest are arranged in a clockwise fashion around the dial, with “Sugar Never Tasted So Good” occupying roughly the 1 o’clock position, “Effect And Cause” at 6, and so on. Individual songs, not albums or bands, are the milestones here. Each of the 26 tracks on Acoustic Recordings is represented in one way or another. Where fans choose to dive in is up to them, depending on which phase of White’s career interests them the most. Maybe they want to know about White’s first solo album, 2012’s Blunderbuss. Here they’ll find the first single from that album, “Love Interruption,” in several forms, including the official video and a Saturday Night Live performance. But the timeline also includes some miscellaneous items related to that song, like a strange photo of White that was apparently taken for the 7” single release. He seems to have had an existential crisis right in the middle of shaving. And is he shaving in a bus terminal somewhere?
Is this a razor he sees before him? The handle toward his hand?