Friday, December 28, 2012

Shanies: Song of the Year

This award is always my least favourite to decide upon because it is such a difficult thing to narrow in on. Whereas other awards like album of the year, artist of the year or even video of the year contain much larger bodies of work to compare against, the song award must be decided with a 3-6 minute audio clip that ideally, holds brilliant music together in a inspiring, progressive, experimental and still accessible way.

While past years have seen this award go to a rather eclectic bunch of epic songs, this year, what really caught my ear was a delicate, minimalist track by How to Destroy Angels. After being rather underwhelmed by their first EP, I was happy to see that Reznor, Ross, Mariqueen Maandig and Rob Sheridan had finally found their groove together, particularly on tracks like Ice Age. The song starts with a simple, awkward interaction between two plucked string instruments. This sets the stage for Maandig's beautiful, yet fragile voice to tell a tale of intrigue much like a muse of the old world. Elements of electronica creep in and out of the track to build intensity and emotion, however, never enough to distract from what is at the core, a frail, beautiful flower in the middle of a snowstorm. As pretentious as it sounds, it is the pieces of this song that were not recorded, but that the song allows your mind to drift towards, that make it beautiful. Some of my favourite music songs are those to which I hear a greater score in my mind than ever saw the inside of the studio.

Honourable mention goes to Gary Clark Jr. for his head-bobbing, smooth blues number, Bright Lights.

-Sing along to words that were never mine

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