Former White Stripes leader and bizarro collaborations enthusiast Jack White has teamed with Detroit rapper Black Milk , talk show host Stephen Colbert and bluesman Seasick Steve — and that was just the past few months. White's collaborations may seem random, the sort of thing rock stars do when they have wide-ranging tastes, boundless energy and impressive contact lists. But look closer and patterns emerge. Click Track breaks down some of White's favorite types of collaborations, and throws in a few suggestions for the future.
1. Hip-hop stars
Past examples: Jay-Z, Black Milk
Who we'd like to see him paired with next: Kanye West. It would be an oxygen-sucking, Type A train wreck of artistic posturing and bloated self-regard (and that's if it worked). But so is "Watch the Throne," and we hear that's pretty good.
Why it might not happen: See above. Also, White once made fun of the rapper's VMA debacle. Something tells us West would not see the humor in this.
2. Aging divas
Past examples: Loretta Lynn, Wanda Jackson, Bob Dylan
Who we'd like to see him paired with next: Dolly Parton. Imagine the possibilities: They could redo one of her old Porter Wagoner duets, or he could write her something new and ostentatiously authentic sounding (White writes from a female perspective better than…well, maybe not anyone. But better than lots of people).
Why it might not happen: Parton, no dummy, has already gone on record saying that White had already asked, and that she would be leery of any potential pairing. "He seems to be a fan," Parton said. "But who knows?"
3. Talk show hosts
Past examples: Stephen Colbert, Conan O'Brien
Who we'd like to see him paired with next: David Letterman is the obvious choice here, though we can't summon up much enthusiasm for this, or even imagine how a potential pairing might go (maybe some kind of spoken word thing?). If Letterman won't do it, George Lopez probably isn't busy.
Why it might not happen: Two late night talk show host collaborations is funny. Three would be sad.
4. Garage rockers
Past examples: The Black Belles, every band Jack White has ever been in
Who we'd like to see him paired with next: The Black Keys. Imagine the sludgy, Detroit-y, uber garage-iness of it all.
Why it might not happen: So many reasons! They're stylistically different in ways that aren't complementary. The Grumpy White Guy factor might be too high. White tends to prefer unlikely cross genre/generational collaborations to collaborations with peers. If this was going to happen, it would have happened already.
5. Cash grabs
Past examples: His collaboration with Alicia Keys on the James Bond "Quantum of Solace" theme, the White Stripes' Coke ad.
Who we'd like to see him paired with next: Two words — Miley Cyrus. She's got money, and credibility problems. He's got a divorce to pay for. She can actually sing, and, if rock history has taught us anything, just needs a roots-oriented weird person to make her seem interesting. White can be her Rick Rubin.
Why this might not happen: White doesn't sell out too often. He'd probably hold out for Selena Gomez.