Coolly restrained hipsterism is the order of the day. Clubs fill with beautiful stoics who watch shows and don't dance. The lo-fi, down-tempo world of indie is a shell of defense against the cultural impotence of modern pop music.
The White Stripes just weren't made for these times.
Starting with their crimson and black psychedelic fashions, Jack and Meg White are the perfect antidote to the Pitchfork era. They don't think; they just feel. And on Icky Thump they make classic-style rock 'n' roll that arguably outperforms the icons of a bygone age.
"300 MPH Torrential Downpour Blues" is a swaggering acoustic-electric track that's pure Led Zep. "You Don't Know What Love Is" recalls the three-minute melodic rock perfection of Badfinger. "Conquest" invokes a Latin bullfighting mood to conjure up the eternal male/female dance for sexual power, and it's breathtaking.
Impressionistic folk poets like Sufjan Stevens and M. Ward may own the decade in music so far, but the White Stripes are a reminder that God made amplifiers to let the power of electrified rock vibrate our souls.