Seven Nation Army – dalle concert hall agli stadi

In epoche e civiltà diverse il numero tre rappresenta la perfezione. Dante ci ha insegnato che è possibile costruire un’intera opera attorno a questo numero. Allo stesso
modo, un eccentrico contemporaneo basa la sua esistenza attorno alla simbolica cifra: si tratta di Jack White. Qualche esempio? Third Man Records è il nome della sua etichetta discografica, nata nel 2001. Three Quid è il soprannome che si diede durante un tour nel 2005, mentre ora si firma Jack White III. Il materiale promozionale della carriera dei White Stripes e di quella da solista presentano esclusivamente schemi cromatici di tre colori, rispettivamente rosso, bianco, nero e blu, bianco, nero. In molte composizioni ricorre al twelve bar blues, ovvero la sequenza dei tre accordi I-IV-V.

Il minimalismo sembra essere la ricetta del successo. In più occasioni i White Stripes hanno dimostrato che sono sufficienti batteria, chitarra e voce per creare brani memorabili. Imponendosi dei limiti, oltre quello del drumming piuttosto primitivo di Meg, Jack ha messo alla prova la sua creatività con ottimi risultati. Uno di questi è senza dubbio Seven Nation Army, brano di apertura di Elephant (2003). Pubblicato come primo singolo su insistenza dell’autore, il brano rivela la sua natura di hit raggiungendo istantaneamente la posizione #3 (coincidenza?) in Italia.

Come racconta nel documentario ‘It Might Get Loud‘ Jack, appassionato di chitarre vintage, registrò il brano con una Kay Hollowbody degli anni 50 collegata ad un pedale whammy che permette di abbassare la tonalità di un’ottava. Molti rimarranno dunque stupiti quanto The Edge, chitarrista degli U2, nello scoprire che l’inizio del brano non è suonato con un basso. Il riff, solido come ad accompagnare l’incedere di una marcia, vede la luce durante un sound check a Melbourne nel 2001. Sette note al quale White aggiunge sferzate di chitarra elettrica che, in un crescendo, infiammano l’ascoltatore. Vibrazioni che vengono riprodotte alla perfezione nel pluripremiato video musicale di Alexandre Courtès: un’ipnotica successione di close up dei due membri circoscritti in triangoli, velata citazione di Alex DeLarge nella locandina di Arancia Meccanica. White canta “I’m gonna fight ’em all“, consapevole che le malelingue e le critiche non fermeranno la sua scalata al successo. Ed ecco che nel Febbraio 2004 arriva a conferma un Grammy per ‘miglior brano rock’.

E poi fino a Berlino

Milano, 22 Ottobre 2003. Dopo qualche pinta, una schiera di tifosi del Club Brugge si dirige verso San Siro intonando un canto. “Po PoPoPoPo Po Po“. Non è necessario ricordarsi le parole, quel brano sentito poco prima al pub ha un ritmo pulsante e coinvolgente che invita chiunque ad unirsi al coro. Così potente da riuscire ad intimorire l’AC Milan? Sicuramente non sufficiente, ma di fatto la squadra italiana quella sera subisce una sconfitta. Da quel momento diventa il grido di battaglia ufficiale della Blue Army belga. Tre anni dopo, saranno gli irriverenti tifosi dell’AS Roma a rubare quell’inno, e i nostri Azzurri a portarlo ai Mondiali. Vittoria dopo vittoria, ironicamente sette, per le strade del Bel Paese si festeggia intonando quella melodia di cui molti ignorano l’origine. Esattamente tredici anni fa, avvolti nei tricolori, immersi nelle fontane delle città tra clacson e urla, la cantavamo un’ultima volta per celebrare l’agognata vittoria del quarto titolo mondiale. Col benestare del signor White, ovviamente, che disse:

La cosa più bella che possa accadere in ambito musicale è quando le persone abbracciano una melodia e le permettono di entrare nel pantheon della musica folk. Da autore è un evento impossibile da pianificare.

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