10. My Chemical Romance -- Desolation Row
Laugh all you want. I know I did the first time I heard that My Chemical Romance would be covering Bob Dylan's nearly twelve minute surrealist folk epic Desolation Row for the Watchmen soundtrack. Admittedly, MCR was just coming off the success of their wildly ambitious -- and shockingly good -- homage to Queen and the Beatles, The Black Parade, but news of this cover made me think they'd started believing their own hype a little too much and had seriously lost their fucking minds. And then I heard it. I'll never doubt this band again. What My Chemical Romance did was strip the song down to just under three minutes, speed it up so that it barreled along with monstrous punk ferocity and cranked the amps to 11. The result was, honest-to-God, one of the coolest covers not just of the year but maybe ever. It was fast, it was furious, and it heralded the arrival of My Chemical Romance: kick-ass rock and roll band.
9. The Dead Weather -- Treat Me Like Your Mother
At this point, Jack White's inescapable ubiquity inspires either respect or flat-out loathe. He'd already spent a few years playing with and producing for anyone and everyone and had fronted two separate bands -- the White Stripes and the Raconteurs -- before putting together the alterna-supergroup The Dead Weather with Kills singer Alison Mosshart earlier this year. But while White's vanity by now kind of feels like the stuff of legend, it's tough to argue with the result of the Dead Weather project: The band's debut album, Horehound, is spectacular. White's Zeppelin-like riffs crunching atop Mosshart's cigarette-and-whiskey soaked voice made for the kind of rock you don't hear much anymore: sexy and sultry, lean and mean. But while there was a lot of blues-inspired slink on Horehound, it was the balls-out fuzzbox fury of the album's second single, Treat Me Like Your Mother, that showed what the band was really capable of. The song was a relentless assault on your eardrums, in the best possible way -- and the video for it was easily the very best released this year.
Monday: 8 & 7
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 11. Little Boots -- New In Town; 12. Miike Snow -- Silvia
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 13. The Sounds -- No One Sleeps When I'm Awake; 14. Blue October -- Dirt Room
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 15. Jay-Z (w/Alicia Keys) -- Empire State of Mind; 16. Company of Thieves -- Oscar Wilde
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 17. Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Heads Will Roll; 18. Doves -- Jetstream
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 19. Mos Def -- Quiet Dog; 20. Florence + the Machine -- Kiss With a Fist