This is the second song from The White Stripes’ 2003 album Elephant to show up on Random Weekends in the last month. On that post, I noted that the song was the fourth from Elephant to come up randomly. Now we’re at five — more than a third of the album’s tracks.
‘Black Math’ is Jack White’s spin on “We don’t need no education.” It’s a fast and furious screed against doing what you’re told.
Here’s his take on the song:
I was thinking about a time in high school when I turned my books in to the math teacher and said, ‘I refuse to learn from you anymore.’ The song is about asking questions. A lot of people are taught just to regurgitate information. People don’t care if you learn anymore. Opinion gets trampled on.
Don’t you think that I’m bound to react now?
Well, my fingers definitely turning to black now
Yeah, well maybe I’ll put my love on ice
Teach myself, maybe that’ll be nice
My books are sitting at the top of the stack now
The longer words are really breaking my back now, yeah
Maybe I’ll learn to understand
Drawing a square with a pencil in hand, yeah
Mathematically turning the page
Unequivocally showing my age
I’m practically center stage
Undeniably earning your wage
Well maybe I’ll put my love on ice
And teach myself, maybe that’ll be nice, yeah
Listen master, can you answer a question?
Is it the fingers, or the brain
That you’re teaching a lesson?
I can’t tell you how proud I am
I’m writing down things that I don’t understand
Well, maybe I’ll put my love on ice
And teach myself, maybe that’ll be nice