Thank god for that bitch Emma dumping Justin Vernon or we wouldn’t have the Bon Iver we know and love today. Bon Iver, meaning having a “good winter”, is one of the best names symbolizing a band’s origin that I can think of. After the breakup of his previous band and full of heartache, Vernon secluded himself in a cabin in northern Wisconsin for 3 months and purged all his pain into song. Out popped one of the most emotional albums of the decade, For Emma, Forever Ago.
Knowing all this background, Bon Iver’s second album was a tad anticipated for me. I think the self-titled Bon Iver is an appropriate progression for Vernon. Now that he has had time to heal all his wounds, it was time for us to get to know Bon Iver on a good day, and Bon Iver does just that. One thing you will quickly notice is the lack of the heart wrenching emotion in Vernon’s voice. However, while the vocals may not be dripping with sorrow like before, they make up in sound and production quality.
The various instruments flow like water in a stream alongside Vernon’s smooth voice creating an experience that is as surreal as is relaxing. Or in Rosie O’Donnell’s case “good for cooking.” More interesting are the song titles on Bon Iver. Each Is a place so by the time we’re ready to slow dance to the 80’s beats of “Beth/Rest” we can reflect on the journey we just took.
The songs themselves allow you to provide your own vivid imagery, however Bon Iver thought he would help us out and provide it for us. In November Vernon released a deluxe version of Bon Iver, which included video accompaniments for each song. They are beautifully shot, each having their own theme and choreographed to the beat.
“Wash.”s video shows the perspective of someone’s visit to the beach. With the waves dancing around the sand perfectly in tune with the song’s entrancing piano notes and captivating violin.
The videos really shine for the album’s best song: “Holocene”. The video is Bon Iver’s tip of his hat. It harps back to his winter roots and reminds us why we fell in love with this grizzly looking dude to begin with.
What I love about Vernon as an artist is his interest on being an excellent music writer without any interest in fame. After several Grammy nominations (which there’s no doubt he will win many), while most artists would be doing backflips, Vernon didn’t see what the big deal was about. When he was alone in his log cabin I’m sure his fame today would be beyond his imagination, but I’m also sure he wouldn’t care either.
“…at once I knew I was not magnificent
Hulled far from the highway aisle
Jagged vacance, thick with ice
I could see for miles, miles, miles”
Now that we have gotten to know Vernon’s happy side I’m very much looking forward to what he has planned next…other than his upcoming work out video. (LOL!) After Justin Vernon’s interview is anyone else thinking “this is the dude who created Bon Iver???”
Must Listen/Watch: “Holocene”
Must Listen/Watch: “Wash.”