Jack White Issues “Battle Cry”

[Occasional contributor Gilles LeBlanc noticed that Jack White surprised everyone overnight with the release of his first new song since 2014. – AC]

The world as we know it may be on the verge of ending, but at least we have a new Jack White song to keep us company while everything around us burns to the ground.

An instrumental rocker called “Battle Cry” appeared on Spotify early in the morning of April 7th. The timing is a little strange considering missiles were fired at Syria a few hours earlier; we know the former White Stripe and current Third Man Records mastermind is no admirer of the 45th so-called President. He’s still selling “Icky Trump” T-shirts on the Third Man webstore!

There is audible Indigenous peoples chanting, something we’ve never heard from any of his projects, with a main riff straight out of the mid-’90s grunge era. The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Zero” immediately came to mind. Apologies for the pun, but it’s a far “cry” from the softer acoustic fare White has been peddling lately. It wouldn’t have been out of place on the recent JUNO Awards broadcast with Buffy Saint-Marie, Tanya Tagaq and A Tribe Called Red. Or as part of Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, having its Canadian premiere at Hot Docs.

As it turns out, “Battle Cry” is actually the soundtrack to an advertisement for baseball bats of all things. White stars in Warcry: The Hawk and the Raven along with pro player Ian Kinsler. A lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, White invested in sporting goods company Warstic last year, so this song probably isn’t part of the new material he may be working on in self-imposed seclusion if the New Yorker is to be believed. (#FakeNews and all!)

The marriage between art and commerce can be a tenuous one at the best of times. This is no Pepsi appropriation, that’s for sure. Before you rush to give White flack for this, just know that proceeds from “Battle Cry” are also being donated to the Native Wellness Institute.

Here is the song for your consideration:

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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