Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The White Stripes: My Sister Thanks You and I Thank You: The White Stripes Greatest Hits [Legacy, 2020]
After 2010's Under Great White Northern Lights, Jack White's live major-label farewell to the duo abandoned in 2007 by his drum-pounding, publicity-shy purported sister and actual ex-wife Meg, Jack proceeded to self-release a dozen more live White Stripes albums, not one of which made the Billboard 200. He did better with this untimely major-label best-of, a retro flip-off to the streaming era and its unnavigable ocean of "curated" playlists: it debuted at 33 before sinking into oblivion and was dutifully praised by a smattering of retro-friendly reviewers and brought to the next level by a sharp New Yorker piece by Amanda Petrusich mourning the disappearance of the best-of itself. Especially with an artist like White, whose aesthetic attractions are diminished somewhat by his limited personal charm (as is true in a different way of Spoon formalist Britt Daniel, who Petrusich reports put out a 2019 best-of I just ordered 'cause it's not on Spotify), best-ofs serve a real, and flattering, aesthetic function. Beginning with their raggedy-ass indie debut "Let's Shake Hands" and signing off with their stadium-friendly accidental anthem "Seven Nation Army," this one mixes it's-been-too-long triumphs like "Fell in Love With a Girl" and "Hotel Yorba" with I-remember-that-one strokes like "Hardest Button to Button" and "Door Bell." Basically, it's never boring--as Petrusich puts it, here be one "thrill of the single" after another, free of pretense, experiment, and near miss. Go ahead, indulge yourself. A