8. Old Mary
Album: Sea of Cowards Year: 2010
The closing track for The Dead Weather's Sea of Cowards, "Old Mary" offers an impish take on the Holy Catholic Rosary, wrapped up in solemn, satiric subversion. "Old Mary, full of grease," White begins, casting the Virgin as just another flawed figure in his ornate, devilish masterpiece. "Old Mary" refuses the comfort of the prayer from which it draws inspiration, skittering about and screaming with unbridled, live-wire tension. With every electric scratch that cuts through the military march of White and Mosshart's vocal work, we arrive closer and closer to the finale, anxiously shepherded along like pigs ready for slaughter. Haunting, driving keys take us to the end. A pondering, lonely bassline delivers weight. Finally, at the conclusion, there is a fractured, but triumphant, breakdown to confirm what Mosshart and White have been telling us all along: we have arrived at the moment of our last breath.