Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground – The White Stripes (2001)

The third single from their 2001 album, White Blood Cells, Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground is a gloriously grimey blues dirge. Jack crunches out a bassline from the opening feedback that has the brutality of a cement mixer that unexpectedly yields to the fragility of the opening stanza. Jack repeats this brutality vs fragility call/response throughout the song; Meg mirrors the intensity perfectly; her stoic refrain underpinning the the fragile moments gives way to crashing cymbals of frenzy in the wilder moments.

Jack’s vocal crackle as he utters the phrase “any man with a microphone can tell you what he loves the most” at 2:33 is sublime.

Official music video directed by Michel Gondry