3. Carolina Drama
Album: Consolers of the Lonely Year: 2008
Surprise, surprise, the final Raconteurs track to make this list is not the monotone, melancholy hum, "Steady, As She Goes." Despite its vast popularity, the track can't hold a candle to the song that is perhaps most indicative of Jack White's ability as a storyteller, "Carolina Drama."
A down home, Southern ballad about Billy and his wildly tangled clan, the song bursts with detail about violence and familial trauma, culminating in the grand and glorious death of Billy's abusive near-step-father. Sacrificing none of the nuances of the act, White describes the "white milk that dripped down with the blood," the starting and end points of the murder, and Billy's little brother, who plays the part of comic relief when he walks into the scene "holding the milk man's hat and a bottle of gin," before leading us all to the swelling, exultant conclusion. Though he hails from Detroit, White is evidently well-studied in the art of Southern gothics, letting religion, money, and aggression all effortlessly blend into one another in one expertly crafted and completed story.