The White Stripes

Seven Nation Army

Song Review by

With ”Seven Nation Army”, The White Stripes move to the head of the Garage Rock Revivalists class, a class that includes The Strokes, The Hives and The Kills, amongst others that have spurred a rebirth of retro guitar rock at the turn of the century. The low end guitar (bass, is not listed in the album credits) that opens the track with a deliberate, plunky lick, at first sounds like a shock tactic coming from these staunch guitar/drum minimalists.

But the groove quickly takes hold, fueled by Meg White’s hypnotic thud and Jack White’s gripping vocal, ”Seven Nation Army” soon turns into one of the catchiest songs of the Detroit duos career. The track cruises with an anticipatory energy, riding Jack’s obstinate attitude as he huffs, “I’m gonna fight’em off / A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back / They’re gonna rip it off / Taking their time right behind my back / And I’m talking t myself at night because I can’t forget / Back and forth through my mind behind a cigarette / And the message coming from my eyes says leave it alone”. Release is eventually granted by way of Jack’s sinister slid guitar and Meg’s bashing crash cymbal, effectively restoring an element of hard rocking blues to what otherwise borders on throbbing dance music. The dynamics see-saw throughout, moving back and forth from the seething, mesmerizing verses to the world less crush of what stands for the chorus, brilliantly manipulating the power of tension and release in lieu of complex song structure. The White Stripes have been rewarded with a critically and commercially successful first single from their equally acclaimed fourth LP, Elephant, and has helped turn the band into full-fledged rockstars in the process.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Elephant 2003 V2 3:51
Seven Nation Army 2003 XL 3:52
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Rock 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:52
Pay Close Attention 2014
Various Artists
XL 3:50