Nathan's Single of The Year
Grizzly Bear (Feat. Michael McDonald), "While You Wait For The Others"
NS: Yes, the original album version of the song is great, but I implore any Grizzly Bear fan to find a version of this song with Michael McDonald on Youtube (it was the B-Side version on the original single). Do not laugh. Did you know that McDonald and Grizzly Bear's music are an almost inhumanly perfect match? You will realize that McDonald's voice, deprived of its usual smooth accompaniment, is a force of nature. That what sounded slightly arch and distanced on the original recording sounds completely emotional and alive. Among other benefits.
Aaron's Single Of The Year
Maxwell, "Pretty Wings"
The notes that open "Pretty Wings," grouped in metallic, rising clusters of four, are musical accompaniment to the Calder-esque mobile that opens the song's video: abstract, but with a powerful sense of melancholy. Maxwell's tale of love lost quickly abandons abstraction, but subtle instrumental touches abound. They are numerous, ingenious, and difficult to describe, dangerously open to that vile epithet smooth, but simply too beautiful for it to stick.