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Jack White ‘Boarding House Reach’ reviews: Will the Grammys embrace ‘the weirdest album of his career’?

Jack White released his new album “Boarding House Reach” on March 23. It’s his third solo album, following “Blunderbuss” (2012) and “Lazaretto” (2014), but he has actually made more than a dozen in his career when you combine his work with his various bands The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. Will his latest add to his Grammys haul in 2019? To date he has won 12 times out of 33 nominations.

According to the reviews for “Boarding House Reach,” he just might take home some more awards hardware, though it depends on how open voters are to “the weirdest album of his career so far.” As of this writing it has received a strong MetaCritic score of 74, which isn’t as high as the scores posted by “Blunderbuss” (83) and “Lazaretto” (80), but to put it in perspective it’s still higher than the last Album of the Year winner, “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars.

Critics are describing “Boarding House” as “ambitious, dizzying, and sometimes challenging.” It’s “a messy, sprawling, daffy, howling set,” “maniacally creative,” a “true departure” and “a fascinating turnabout.” But it’s still “appealingly rootsy, steeped in the chords, instruments, riffs and rhythms of blues, jazz, rock and funk.”

If the album does return Jack White to the Album of the Year lineup at the Grammys, it would be his fourth time in that race. He was nominated in 2004 for “Elephant” as one half of The White Stripes, then in 2013 with “Blunderbuss” as a solo artist, and most recently as a featured artist on Beyonce‘s “Lemonade” in 2017. He hasn’t won that top award yet, but he did win Best Alternative Album three times with The White Stripes: for “Elephant,” “Get Behind Me Satan” (2006) and “Icky Thump” (2008). He even won Best Country Album for producing Loretta Lynn‘s “Van Lear Rose” (2005).

Do you think Jack White will add to his dozen Grammy wins? Check out some of the reviews below, and discuss this and more with your fellow music fans in our forums.

Robert Steiner (Boston Globe): “White does pretty much everything except what fans have learned to expect from him. It’s an ambitious, dizzying, and sometimes challenging listen, but overall makes for one of the most maniacally creative albums of the year.”

Neil McCormick (The Telegraph): “‘Boarding House Reach’ is White’s most free-form, experimental offering in a career spanning 15 albums … And yet his tone remains appealingly rootsy, steeped in the chords, instruments, riffs and rhythms of blues, jazz, rock and funk.”

Eric R. Danton (Paste Magazine): “Here’s what happens when Jack White lets his imagination truly run wild: the weirdest album of his career so far … Though he’s long been considered an eccentric who does things differently than everyone else, he’s been almost rigorously consistent about it over the past 20 years. His latest is his first true departure, and the unfamiliarity is at once a challenge to absorb and also a fascinating turnabout.”

Will Hermes (Rolling Stone): “Jack White seems to be wrestling with the question on ‘Boarding House Reach’ – a messy, sprawling, daffy, howling set that sounds spiritually hungry, collectively driven and, instructively, a little bit lost. It’s his strangest record, but per usual, it shows his continued devotion to rock’s dark arts.”

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