Friday, November 20, 2009

6. Loretta Lynn (feat. Jack White) "Portland, Oregon" (2004)

Jack White dedicated the White Stripes' second record, White Blood Cells, to Loretta Lynn. His admiration for Lynn is taken to its logical conclusion on "Portland, Oregon," a song about a septuagenarian cougar and a young buck meeting over sloe gin fizz and getting it on. The song somehow avoids being creepy, despite the extreme age gap of the duettists. In fact, it's the quintessential celebratory one-night-stand song, completely devoid of regret or shame.

Forget Conway Twitty, Jack White has become Lynn's partner in crime and, in her words, her "forever friend". "Portland, Oregon" begins with a meandering Jack White intro, but when the song kicks in, it's clear that Lynn has been reinvigorated by her collaboration with the White Stripe. In fact, White's garage rock aesthetic only heightens the outlaw country of Loretta Lynn.

Loretta Lynn hasn't been this relevant since the late 1970s, and it's not only thanks to Jack White. Her voice is as strong as ever, and she's been making some killer music. Few artists produce such amazing work at such an old age, especially not music this youthful.

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