From Stripespedia

studio album by The White Stripes


Track Listing

Liner Notes




This album is dedicated to, and is for, and about the death of the sweetheart. In a social plane, impossible to exist, and in memories, past defeating present. We mourn the sweetheart's loss in a disgusting world of opportunistic, lottery ticket holders caring about nothing that is long term, only the cheap thrill, the kick, the for the moment pleasure, the easy way out, the bragging rights and trophy holding. The thirteen year old tattoo, the hard attitude, devil may care, don't call your parents, drink, insult, thank only yourself, and blame the rest if you don't get yours. Gone to the ether, gone to your mother's hope chest, buried in the boot of the rocker, the trunk of the car, and they get laughs, they get home late, they missed the rent, they forgot your money, they've got a new friend, they won't be told they are wrong.

Burn baby burn, take the trash to the living room, laugh at the sweetheart, you and your friend can kill it if television's aim is bad, break it, hard or die. Hard or die. It keeps going, you're not wrong, don't worry about it, what matters? You're having fun right? Break the rules rebel, break them hard, help yourself. Make yourself at home, turn on the video games, don't bother to contact, gorge yourself, it's all here for you, take your sweet time, if you're confronted by it, blow it off and get paid quick. This is what it's all about, and we're with you baby, take my bite as high support, take my argument as just something that's my problem, you don't need this, you need to please yourself. The dream is alive and well, and we don't want to wake up from it. Ethics, morals, spirits, breakfast cereals.

Honesty in bloom, heart on sleeve, life ever exposed and safe, courtesy to them and all you know, cinnamon and cider mills past last night's drenched roof shingles, down and cotton covered breath, out in the open with nothing to hide, mention of soft paper and pine, soda powder and brown paper bags, angora and hound's tooth, youth and canvas, fresh color, blind chance and forward stumble, scarlet mood, and white ivory shimmering laugh, safe in mind and comfort in home, absent of flies and anger, blankets of your own, peaches in cellar, subtle hair and skin, sand and leaf, felt napkin and clothing line, warm air from heating vent, snow on ground, reunions of sane unforced presence, motherly intervention held in suspense, enraptured holy sight, reception in halls, your Sunday go to meeting, your helping hand, your summersault, your attic, your home and your preservation, so simple, so untouched, this is as wise as raven and as easy to trust, yet have they known, and yet may they wonder, with words and thought and thorn, this is spirit and persona under.

Release History


Band Quotes

  • Jack White: "There are approximately 3,103 reasons why we named it Elephant... I'd rather let people make up their own ideas about it. There's a lot of reasons, the main one being that it was one creature that represented both me and Meg, our personalities on stage and in real life-ourselves, the myth, and the ideas people have about elephants. It's anger and innocence and majesty and clumsiness, and things like that. It seemed to represent both of our characteristics as one creature."
  • Jack White: "The main reason we named the album Elephant is the idea of one creature representing both Meg's and my own personalities, whether on-stage or in real life: power, subtlety, anger, innocence, clumsiness, stability. Another reason was the way elephants relate to death. When a group of elephants come upon the dead remains of another elephant they both become very emotional and start trying the bury the bones, which directly relates to 'the death of the sweetheart.' It's no longer the quiet version of Elephant we planned, it's heavy duty. The elephant is a creature that represents both me and Meg's personalities. It was the two of us in one creature. Elephants are powerful and majestic, but also subtle and innocent, angry and clumsy. It just seemed like all these different characteristics were either one of us."


  • US CD: Jack and Meg are sitting on a circus travel trunk, with Jack's signature 'III' visibly emblazoned on it. Jack is wearing a lavish red Western-style shirt, and holding a cricket bat, part of the joke that Elephant is their 'English' album, because of its recording location as well as its numerous references to England (the Queen, biscuits, English muffins). Meg is barefoot, wearing a white dress, and crying into a white handkerchief, with a rope tied to her ankle and winding out of frame. There is a skull ominously sitting behind them, and peanuts and peanut shells are scattered in front of them. Both have white ribbons tied to their fingers.
  • UK CD: Same cover, except reversed.
  • US LP: Same cover, except Meg is wearing a black dress.
  • UK LP: Same cover, although it has a weird blackish-red tint to it.
  • AUS/JAP/NZ CD: Same cover, although focused in on Meg and Jack (in a relaxed position).
  • AUS LP: Same cover, although Jack's suit is entirely white. Also the Holy Grail of Elephant releases.


  • Before Elephant was released, John Peel started playing the album in its entirety several times on his radio show, until the band told him to stop. The band later appeared on his radio show again, and also attended Peel's funeral.

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