Seven Nation Army


Welcome to the most played riff of the new century. You could even say ‘overplayed’ since the riff has We-Will-We-Will-Rock-You’ed its way into sports stadiums all over the world. But the ubiquity of the former little-garage-band-that-could from Detroit shouldn’t overshadow the importance of their impact. You could say, in the pompous tones of a newsreel narrator, that The White Stripes changed the world forever. (Changed the world… forever.) But what the White Stripes did was change a lot of lives. I remember the exact moment when that riff made me prick up my ears, in the community theatre basement where I was sewing costumes as a summer intern, age 20 and as convinced that rock music was dead as Nietzsche was about God. If I had been more musically gifted, it would have been my Elvis-gets-his-first-guitar moment. Still, it was enough of a life changer just to know that rock wasn’t really dead and there was new music worth caring about. (I told Jack White as much on the one occasion I crossed paths with him, and he said “I’ll take that.”) Now, 15 years later, being the generation that discovered and nurtured the White Stripes feels historically significant, like your parents and their punk records, or any other group whose deeply personal cultural experiences have in hindsight appeared to be the definitive cultural experiences of their time.

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