WHITE STRIPES – ” Elephant XX “

Posted: January 14, 2023 in MUSIC

Third Man Records is excited to announce Vault Package #55The White Stripes – “Elephant XX“, the 20th anniversary expanded accompaniment to the band’s seminal 2003 album. In addition to a new mono remix of the entire album on red and white LPs, this package includes a red glitter 7″ with Jack White’s original solo demos of “Elephant” fan favourite “Hypnotize,” a DVD with never-before-seen footage from the era, and a 28-page booklet of previously-unshared photos, all housed in a custom slipcase. 

Thework an artist creates on the precipice of their star turn, with attention solidly focused on them…well, those are the moments that become truly magical.  If ever a singularly magical moment exists in the history of The White Stripes, it is likely the release and ensuing hubbub behind their 2003 album “Elephant”. 

As explosive initial releases are ever-deserving of further examination and celebration, it should come as no surprise that the 55th installment of Third Man Records Vault subscription series is the twentieth anniversary collection “Elephant XX”. 

The centerpiece of this set is an all new, direct-from-the-original multitrack tapes MONO remix of the entire “Elephant” album. Mixed by Jack White and Bill Skibbe at Third Man Studio in Nashville, the work was executed on the same Calrec board used to complete the original stereo mix of “Elephant” at Toe Rag Studios in London back in 2002. 

As these particular tapes had not been spun in nearly twenty years, little surprises and treasures slowly began to reveal themselves at every turn. An extra four bars at the end of the canonical “Seven Nation Army”? Completely forgotten by all involved until now. A long lost lyric edited out of “Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine”? Faithfully restored here. The snippets and snapshots of studio banter before and after takes? You bet we left it in. Revelations abound, truly gems to be discovered and dissected by die-hards and fairweather alike. 

The idea here isn’t to try and COMPLETELY REIMAGINE the “Elephant” album. We know how near and dear it is to all of the White Stripes fans out there. The goal is to harken back to other similar experiments (like our first-ever Vault package, “Icky Thump” mono) while shedding light on the nuance and craft contained both in the performance and the mix of this album. In homage to the original US pressing of the album, “Elephant” mono is pressed on opaque white and opaque red discs.  

Additionally, we’ve included Jack White’s original solo demo of “Hypnotize” in two markedly different mixes here. Recorded on 4-track reel-to-reel sometime in 1998 and “gifted” to the local Detroit garage band the Hentchmen as a song White felt was more in their style than his at the time. Come a few years later, with the Hentches having done nothing with the tune, Jack reclaimed it for he and Meg, and their frenetic take quickly became a long-standing fan favorite. 

Furthermore, the original, first take version of “You’ve Got Her In Your Pocket” done seemingly as a mic check, is paired here on the flipside of “Hypnotize”, complete with additional flourish and fingerpicking more so than what ended up on the final album version.  

All three of these aforementioned songs are shared together on a stunning 7-inch single pressed on glorious glitter red vinyl.

It wouldn’t be a twentieth anniversary collection without a DVD and here we’ve assembled a corker. “Elephant-Era Video Artifacts” is a simulacrum of the dubbed and traded VHS mixtape compilations that were pivotal to sharing of information and fuelling fandom long before YouTubers begged you to smash that subscribe button.  

The footage includes the exact album take of Jack and Meg and Holly Golightly singing their hearts out so jolly on “It’s True That We Love One Another” and a previously buried multi-camera Japanese live performance of a wild show kicked off with an impromptu cover of the Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” From the insightful, unseen interview with Jack and Meg (she talks a lot!) through beautiful 8mm film capture of the behind-the-scenes and making of “The Hardest Button To Button” music video, the collection here utilizes variety to convey the breadth and reach that The White Stripes covered in their dogged work supporting “Elephant”. 

Tying it all together is a 28-page 12″ x 12″ booklet chock-full of previously unshared photos from the “Elephant” album cover shoot, candid backstage pics and all sorts of handwritten lyrics, concert posters, proposed/abandoned tracklists, blood chits, shopping lists, scraps of paper with Támam Shud written on them….you know, the works.

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