45 Best Albums of 2014 So Far

The best rock, hip-hop, EDM and country of this year's first half

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Jack White, 'Lazaretto'
Courtesy of Third Man Records45/45

Jack White, 'Lazaretto'

Jack White makes heavy, turbulent modern-blues records the same way he pursues his other passion, furniture restoration: with a decisive attention to contour, color scheme and cagey, durable detail. In Lazaretto, literally a house of blues (the title is Italian for a lepers' hospital), each room is outfitted according to White's mood and trials: the hip-hop seizure and hog-squeal guitar in "Lazaretto"; the bleak piano and deathangel voices in "Would You Fight for My Love?" as if Queen came from antebellum Mississippi; the crushing voodoo of "That Black Bat Licorice," lined with nervous mandolin and scalding fiddle. He knows how to make pure fun.

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