Thoughts and Prayers

Album: Help Us Stranger (2019)

Songfacts®:

  • "Thoughts and Prayers" is an existential meditation on modern times.

    I used to look up at the sky
    Up at the beautiful blue sky
    But now the earth has turned to grey


    Jack White was raised Catholic and at one time considered becoming a priest. He also talks about asking the Almighty (using a feminine pronoun) why we're making such a mess of this world.

    There's got to be a better way
    To talk to God and hear her say
    There are reasons why it is this way
  • The song title does not appear in the lyric. White said: "We didn't have a title for it for a long time and I thought at the end I should just call it 'Thoughts and Prayers' because it's actually the character and he's actually talking about his thoughts and prayers rather than what's become a throw away phrase now in popular culture."
  • The track also doubles up as a protest song. In America, politicians often offer "thoughts and prayers" in lieu of action in the wake of school shootings and other tragedies.

    Asked by The Independent if the title is a political dig, White replied:

    "That phrase has become meaningless. It's a thoughtless phrase. Basically an insult. Somebody asked me the other day if the song is a reflection on Donald Trump's administration, and in a way it is, but I think nobody should do him the service of even mentioning his name anymore. That should be the new thing everyone does."
  • "Thoughts and Prayers" is the closing track on Help us Stranger. The song starts as a tender acoustic hymn before signing off with a blistering jam featuring sisters Lillie Mae Rische's violin and Scarlett Rische's mandolin.

    Lillie Mae Riche is a country-folk musician signed to Jack White's Third Man Records, The Raconteurs frontman said of her violin work on this track:

    "'Thoughts and Prayers,' once we finished it, we knew it could only go one place on the album; it had to be the last song on the album because the amazing Lillie Mae on the fiddle, the outro she did was just so gigantic, almost like a 'Baba O'Riley' thing, like The Who or something. It was such a gigantic ending that you had to put it at the end of the album."

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