Music News

Why the Michael McDonald Version of Grizzly Bear's "While You Wait for the Others" is Amazing

It came to my attention yesterday that former Doobie Brother/Kenny Loggins partner-in-crime Michael McDonald had collaborated with Brooklyn indie rockers Grizzly Bear for their new single "While You Wait for the Others." I saw the news, felt a general amount of whimsy and went about my day. Fast forward to today and yet another news story has surfaced about this unlikely collaboration, this time with McDonald explaining just how he came to work with Grizzly Bear. This prompted me to finally listen to the track, and the results were completely overwhelming.

The song in question, "While You Wait for the Others," is one of a few standout tracks from Grizzly Bear's latest album Veckatimest. The album has been kicking ass on the indie radar since its release this past May mainly due to the fact that, in spite of Grizzly Bear being an indie rock band from Brooklyn, it is really good and defies all the stupid hipster/trendy labels that can so effortlessly be slapped onto any rock bands from Brooklyn (especially Williamsburg) these days.

But having Michael McDonald -- who ruled the roost in the 70s and 80s -- lend his legendary vocals to the b-side of your latest single sounds like quite an odd move.

At first, the idea is just that: odd and a bit off-kilter. However, reality sets in quick and McDonald takes control of the track, suffusing it with his trademark soulful vocals. One can easily forget Daniel Rossen's influence over the song -- and whole record, for that matter. But it is unfair to compare singing styles/talents to Michael McDonald's. 

When the song gets into its first bridge, about 50 seconds into the song, McDonald absolutely shines and the song's fate is wrapped up right at that moment. It's incredibly transcendent -- the marriage of McDonald's vocals with the band's astute, impressive playing style. Grizzly Bear managed to make an outstanding song into one of the most impressive -- and coolest -- to come along in some time.

This is a great example of talented musicians appreciating each other -- and it's made even better by the age difference between McDonald and Grizzly Bear. When collaborations like this exist, everyone's a winner.

Honestly, if you don't like Michael McDonald or are too cool for school to admit that someone older than 50 could hold a candle to a band like Grizzly Bear, then don't bother listening. If you have an open mind and are willing to give a quirky idea like this a chance, then jump right in and enjoy. I, myself, am a fan of Michael McDonald's, but that doesn't get in the way of appreciating a collaboration such as this -- it might sway my opinion one way, but I think everyone can agree that McDonald's voice is remarkable.

To listen to a clip of Michael McDonald singing "While You Wait for the Others," direct your attention down past the article and press play (compliments of Paste Magazine.)

The song is available for download now at the iTunes music store.

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Michael Lopez