The Great Debate: The White Stripes vs. The Black Keys

Story by Eric Christenson

The White Stripes
by Eric Christenson

First of all, R.I.P. White Stripes.  This is my dedication to you.

Second of all, THIS IS SO EASY.  There is an abundance of reasons why The White Stripes are better than The Black Keys, the easiest being that Jack White is clearly a better guitar player.

I will admit that I’ve swooned a few times to some of Auerbach’s licks (is it lame to call them licks?) and I gotta say his (ex-)beard (was) magnificent, but that doesn’t change the quality of
the music.

Dear Dan Auerbach, Jack White’s solo in “Black Math” called and said it’s 2003 and it’ll be better than anything you can ever dream up.  It also wants you to try a little harder next time.

Jack conquers rock ‘n roll, blues and even folk with blasé and bombast, creating interesting and creative solos and memorable and lovable lines.

A lot of people criticize Meg White’s simple, amateuristic drumming.  I would defend Meg White’s drumming to the death.  It’s perfect.  It’s raw and unrefined and excellent.  In that respect, that’s what blues is supposed to be: loose, sloppy and beautiful.

I will say that The Black Keys come dangerously close to a “Blue Orchid” quality song with “Everlasting Light,” but they’re still light years and a few regular years away from “Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine.”

The White Stripes just do blues better.  They just understand it.

I will give an advantage to The Black Keys for the fact that they are still active and alive, but nearly the entire White Stripes catalogue (barring “Get Behind Me, Satan”) is both critically and widely adored, and will be for a long, long time.

The White Stripes have been everyone’s favorite thing since middle school and they’re more beloved than ever.  Why stop now?

The Black Keys
by Sam Rosenberry

OK, so The White Stripes were good and all.

Jack White is one of the greats, but The Black Keys is where the money is at. Or the bacon. Or whatever you deem to be valuable.

First off, I like my blues-rock to be a sludgy, skuzzy affair and that’s what The Black Keys are about. Listen to “Thickfreakness” and you’ll see what I’m saying. The blues should be somewhat depressing so the music should be skuzzy to match the mood.

Maybe it’s unfair to purely label The White Stripes as blues-rock, but that’s what they are most commonly referred to as for whatever that’s worth, and The Keys do it better.

They can also be called garage rock which I also want to be skuzzy so guess what … The Black Keys are your band.

Dan Auerbach also has a better voice than Jack White. He has a deep soul-filled voice that perfectly matches the music and the lyrics. It’s surprising to hear the voice that comes out of his small frame.

If that wasn’t enough, he added a falsetto in their latest outing “Brothers.” Listen to “Everlasting Light” or “The Only One” to hear it in action. Jack White’s can be a little too nasally or grating and he just doesn’t sound as good.

Patrick Carney is much better than Meg White on the drums as well. She seems to be there purely to keep time whereas Carney seems to be more of an equal to his singer/guitarist.

He also attacks the drums with ferocity. I saw them at Lollapalooza a couple years ago and he was relentless. This was even more impressive, considering how insanely hot it was. I’m not a drumming expert, but it seems that he does a better job than Meg White.

The White Stripes are good, but The Black Keys are better.