The Best Singles of 2013, #13

zolawaterZola Jesus, “Fall Back”

Nika Roza Danilova’s finest song to date is also her simplest. A straightforward love song, it nevertheless conveys a level of passion that she was never able to fully convey on any previous Zola Jesus album, thanks in large part to a stirring strings arrangement by collaborator JG Thirlwell for the Mivos Quartet. The song starts out simply enough, Danilova singing tenderly above beautiful ornate strings, but it slowly escalates, percussion gradually entering the fray, atonal notes from the quartet darkening the horizon. The beats get more powerful, the strings increase in tension, and as she repeats, “I would do anything to be with you forever,” the song careens madly, the quartet sawing away, the beats thrumming towards a sudden and breathless conclusion. It’s a beautiful emotional train wreck, much like Danilova’s original composition itself.