The Dead Weather’s Perfect Storm

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Published July 13, 2009

The Dead Weather’s Jack White and Alison Mosshart face off as well-matched machine-gun marauders in the new video for “Treat Me Like Your Mother,” the second single from the supergroup’s Horehound album. Launched over the weekend on Cinemax and quickly leaked to the Internet, the nearly five-minute clip is directed by Jonathan Glazer, the British video and commercial maverick also known for his idiosyncratic films Sexy Beast and Birth.

The video opens with a whirling old-fashioned bomb, its fizzling fuse ready to explode, then cuts to Jack White, leather-jacket-clad, walking across a washed-out, suburban landscape and carrying a machinegun. In the opposite corner, vocalist Alison Mosshart charges across the same terrain, locked, loaded and ready to fire her own automatic weapon. As the sun bears down on the combatting singers, a strange sort of Western showdown ensues, with blazing bullets tearing holes through their bodies in Bonnie & Clyde-like excess, but with little actual effect. A metaphor for a combusting romance, noted.

Spin‘s Charles Aaron wrote, “When you listen to clattery Horehound tracks like ‘So Far From Your Weapon’ or ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother,’ which White and Mosshart sing (or wail) together, you imagine a sort of Tennessee Williams, kitchen- knife-wielding scenario.” Looks like Glazer expanded the analogy to heavier weaponry.

While arguably not as daringly executed as Glazer’s famous clips for UNKLE’s “Rabbit in Your Headlights” or Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity,” but conceptually similar in its simplicity and subtle twisting of reality, the video nevertheless captures the song’s angry take on one very messed-up relationship.