When the White Stripes announced their break up last week, I reacted with mixed emotions. Although I was definitely upset at first, I wasn’t necessarily surprised. The rock group last released a studio album in 2007, and since then we’ve seen singer/guitarist Jack White branch out on many solo ventures and appearances. The more that I think about the announcement, however, the more monumental the band’s end has become.

When I think back to the first time I heard the White Stripes, I envision legos. I remember watching MTV and seeing the video for “Fell In Love With a Girl” hit the TRL airwaves. Until then, my music was admittedly dominated by ‘90s boy bands and a share of Britney Spears, but with that video I was exposed to rock for the first time. Clinging onto my older sister’s teenage viewing habits, I stared at the colored legos dance across the screen, reconstructing themselves into shapes and designs to the beat of the thrashing guitar and drums and Jack White’s electrifying voice.

I’m not going to lie and say that the White Stripes was my favorite band ever or that I will lament the band’s end with a candle-lit shrine and an all-black outfit of mourning. However, each time I listen to different songs released by the White Stripes over the years, I am taken back to different stages of my life. It feels like I grew up with the band, and each time I go back and listen to their work, I appreciate things that once went through my head. While I was transfixed by their mysterious looks and unfamiliar rock music when I was younger, I revisit their tracks and find how they seamlessly embody very different styles, from blues to punk to garage rock. I find myself putting their amazing covers of Bob Dylan and Burt Bacharach/Dusty Springfield hits on repeat on my iPod. I start to wonder about their rise and their background, especially after seeing a glimpse of Jack’s life in It Might Get Loud.

I feel like I owe a lot to the White Stripes. They made me love other bands that started to emerge at the time – The Hives, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The groups that spawned from the White Stripes – namely The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather – probably wouldn’t have been possible either without the original band’s success. When Jack and Meg White announced their band’s break up, they said they did so for many reasons, “mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band.” It’s an almost noble move – quitting while they’re still ahead, perhaps keeping their legacy in gold and making this an optimistic “end” rather than a tragic “demise.” It seems as if both members are ready to move on and the announcement merely cemented their intentions. Regardless of future endeavors, the White Stripes will always remain a part of my life. Here are some of my favorite songs – hopefully, they speak for themselves:

“Fell In Love With a Girl”

“One More Cup of Coffee (Bob Dylan cover)”

“Dead Leaves & The Dirty Ground”

-Margot Pien