... in which we continue to count down our top ten favorite songs of 2009. Yesterday's action-packed installment unveiled Numbers 10-7. Today, it's 6, 5, 4 ....
No. Six: “Treat Me Like Your Mother” by the Dead Weather (WEA/Reprise)
When it comes to supergroups that feature Led Zeppelin riffs and moonlighting Queens of the Stone Age, I’ll take the Dead Weather over Them Crooked Vultures any day. “Treat Me Like Your Mother” may not be the most original track on the band’s Horehound debut (that title goes to “I Cut Like a Buffalo”), but it’s probably the most immediate and effective, with a merciless rock groove, Jack White and Alison Mosshart’s combative crooning, and twisted lyrics (“You blink when you breathe / And you breathe when you lie / You blink when you lie”) worthy of R.D. Laing’s Knots.
No. Five: “Alcoholics Unanimous” by Art Brut (Downtown)
It’s easy to imagine Art Brut writing one of the year’s funniest songs, but this is also one of the year’s best, assuming you favor intoxicatingly punchy recordings about hangover support groups. (And, really, why wouldn’t you?) Pixies main man Frank Black is at the production helm for 3 ½ minutes of punky guitar riffs supporting frontman Eddie Argos’ boisterous morning-after rationalizations. Anthemic, really.
No. Four: “Her Eyes are Underneath the Ground” by Antony & the Johnsons (Secretly Canadian)
With quavering vocals and industrial-strength melancholy, Antony Hegarty’s poetic oeuvre is even more Poe-faced than that of his mentor, Lou Reed. So while he’s not much help when it comes to delivering the feel-good hit of the summer, this chamber pop masterpiece makes perfectly haunting accompaniment to life’s more reflective moments. The brooding minor-key string arrangements complement a vocal that calls to mind Jeff Buckley when he was reaching for the furthest stars, and it makes me grateful that one of them is still around to do it.