The Spinners

♪ While You Wait for the Others (Grizzly Bear, 2009) ♪

In Indie American, Richard Bolisay, Track Reviews on January 13, 2010 at 7:31 am

Grizzly Bear are a humble band; nothing about them puts me off in terms of musicality, attitude, or live performances. They are just here to share some music, no less. And that music, especially in Veckatimest, makes me appreciate that modesty even more. They gain the respect of their peers—Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Jay-Z to name just three—and 2009 proves to be the most fruitful for them, both commercially and critically.

I listen again to Michael McDonald’s version of the track and as he sings, the band is just behind, doing the harmonies, and doing the second-voice. The collaboration is wonderful; the band can let other people sing their song and help them the best they could. McDonald’s version is as brilliant as Grizzly Bear’s. And that’s the thing about “While You Wait for the Others”. It’s not just a Grizzly Bear song; it is something shared and something collectively personal; interpretations come out as beautiful as the original. The band creates the music and lets us hear it, trash it if we like, but they will stay and continue doing their craft.

Maybe it’s the lyrics—the way So I’ll ask you kindly to make your way shows a lot of sincerity and respect, or the way Yes you’ll only bleed me dry sounds so immediate and painful that we take them to heart. The song is written like it can only be sung, for if we just say the words prosaically without the tune they wouldn’t come out as emotional as they are when the music accompanies them. But the culprit is not just the words; it is that sublime arrangement that peaks in the coda, that even when Daniel Rossen shouts, his voice still sounds like a whisper, a powerful whisper of some secret, of resignation to breaking up.

Not to put too fine a point on it: “While You Wait for the Others” is both a lyrical and sonic perfection, honed by a band that only gets better record after record, song after song, performance after performance. Nothing came close to it, and nothing could ever come close to it, in 2009.

– Richard Bolisay

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