Spinner picks Charles Bradley’s ‘Heartaches and Pain’ chosen as Best Song of 2011 (so far)
The final track on Bradley’s debut album originally came out a few years back as a 45 B-side, but got its wide release this year, so we’re counting it. The song tells the story of his brother’s murder, and the emotional wounds sear through speakers thanks to the soul man’s raspy screams. Punctuated by the stellar horn playing of the Menahan Street Band, the cut has such an impact that it might as well serve as the definition for both of the titular sufferings. Ultimately, though, the song is about healing — and who better to tell us about it than a man who’s dealt with so much, including time spent living on the streets, before releasing his first record at 62 years old and finally finding the acclaim he deserves? — D.R.