High Ball Stepper

April 2, 2014

Since the disbandment of the The White Stripes in 2011, guitarist Jack White has begun to focus  primarily on his solo work, with the success of his debut album, Blunderbuss, proving to be a hit.  But surely enough, on April Fools Day,  it was no joke that he had something waiting for his fans. White released a new single, “High Ball Stepper” off his new album, Lazaretto, which will be released on Jun. 10, 2014. “Stepper” is a mostly instrumental song that highlights the crazy guitar skills White is so well-known for. The song begins with cries of eighth note values, while drums are playing in the back to keep the tempo. Every time the cries stop, White plays a repeated guitar solo. This part of the song lasts for about 30 seconds, then transitions into a piano playing a rapid, but repeated melody, each note played ascending in tone. Once the piano part ends, White blasts into his mad guitar solo; fans will recognize his style even without knowing it’s White performing. He delves into the sound that is muffled, but also dependent on an analog, a synthesizer that helps create a rich, coarse tone. White continues his solo throughout the rest of the song, with the cries making an appearance once again. The song then dies down to a piano dynamic, eventually making a crescendo to repeat the solo and the cries.

Michael Nelson of Stereogum is excited to have White back releasing new music. “Is the instrumental jam ‘High Ball Stepper’ really the first song to be released from Jack White’s new LP, Lazaretto?,” he said. “I’ve got faith that it is, even if an instrumental is a weird way to lead things off. Hey, Jack White is a pretty weird guy! Either way, that’s definitely White shredding.” Although White is still playing music in a comfortable territory, the harsh tones he exudes from his guitar are his signature; it’s still the same White, but it’s an older White playing the grunge melodies for his loyal audience.  The song has addictive tones to it that make the listener tuned into the song. Certainly, the song may seem, to some fans, that nothing has changed with White’s musicality. But what White has done for “Stepper” is infuse his guitar skills with bleak, sporadic tones that only make his sound richer. White is currently on tour, with Houston as his next stop, performing at the Free Press Summer Festival in late May.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Rodas Hailu
Rodas Hailu, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Rodas Hailu, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Downey Legend, leads the 2013-2014 staff into a busy and exciting year, introducing them to the journalistic world and all its wonders. The writer and photographer first entered the online newspaper as a junior, landing the position of Student Life Editor and turned heads when her stories revealed a seemingly natural instinct for investigative journalism. One year in newspaper left Hailu craving more: a position of leadership where she could let her ideas flourish and create a more successful website. As this year’s editor, she hopes to lead her team into greatness and provide a comfortable workspace. According to the senior, there is no room for mediocrity in the online newspaper. “I don’t want the writers and photographers to be apathetic at all,” Hailu said. “If they are in The Downey Legend, they are in The Downey Legend.” Full force and with great efforts, the talented student hopes to heighten the newspaper’s popularity and implement new ideas, hopefully capturing a new, wider audience.


The senior, who is often described as an old soul, admires classical music and is moved by each powerful note in pieces composed by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Khatchaturian. A violinist of 7 years, her appreciation for works of art extends to cinema, and claims to be an avid movie watcher. “I really love to watch movies with a good script, amazing characters, and wonderful cinematography,” Hailu said. With a sixth sense for different forms of human creativity, she hopes to become a student in a liberal arts college and experience the intimacy of a less populated university. The future awaits Hailu, a force to be reckoned with in the arts field, and she predicts she will be living on her own because of her “innate independence.” Living day by day and constantly telling herself, “whatever happens, happens,” she tunnels her focus on The Downey Legend and its future success. A true leader with a mind coiled with layers of depth, Hailu reveals bits and pieces of her vision through her various works or art, photographs and stories.

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