mother on the wall… [Bon Iver]

Its been a while, I know, but we’re back with a new look.

Whenever I try to write music, at some point I think to myself “there’s no way. You can’t do it. You can’t create another song with a guitar and a guy singing and it be good. There are a finite number of good songs with this formula, and you didn’t make the cut.”

Then I listen to Bon Iver and think. “He made the cut.” I guess it helps Justin Vernon has the male version of the  voice of Feist. [This was only realized when hearing him do a cover of Feist’s “Park”]

Bon Iver’s album For Emma, Forever Ago has the sounds and colors of winter. This makes sense when we consider it is their name’s sake as well as the majority of the recording being done in a remote cabin in Wisconsin in the winter. Don’t listen to this album in the summer unless you are driving on the highway at night and it’s cool outside.

It’s easy to listen to this album several times and never catch more than a few words because you the quality of the voices is symphonic enough for your brain to just think it’s another instrument playing the melody. I say that to say  that even if the words to the songs weren’t stellar, I’d probably listen to the album, but the fact that they are, makes this album a must for exploring the connection between the music and the meaning. Let’s look at re:Stacks:

Golden Bear?

This my excavation and today is Kumran
Everything that happens is from now on
This is pouring rain
This is paralyzed

I keep throwing it down two hundred at a time
It’s hard to find it when you knew it
When your money’s gone
And you’re drunk as hell

On your back with your racks as the stacks as your load
In the back and the racks and the stacks are your load
In the back with your racks and you’re unstacking your load

I’ve twisting to the sun I needed to replace
The fountain in the front yard is rusted out
All my love was down
In a frozen ground

There’s a black crow sitting across from me; his wiry legs are crossed
And he’s dangling my keys he even fakes a toss
Whatever could it be
That has brought me to this loss?

On your back with your racks as the stacks as your load
In the back and the racks and the stacks of your load
In the back with your racks and you’re unstacking your load

This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization
It’s the sound of the unlocking and the lift away
Your love will be
Safe with me

Crows, frozen ground, and Kumran? It’s like a Poe aesthetic with a drop or two more romantic. Vernon shies away from the vague emotionalism that the sound of his voice might make you think is contained within. He uses very specific and crisp images. The entire song is about immobility, paralysis, and the indecision. The poem feels like the weight of the cold block of the present and no hope of a warmer future. It’s  a poem of winter.

For those wanting the best Bon iver experience. Start with For Emma, Forever ago and thenlisten to Blood Bank. I don’t much about Volcano Choir, but I’m interested to listen to see if will delight without repeating. For those who have listened to it, please comment!

Check out of FB page for a link to a Peter Gabriel Cover of Bon Iver’s “Flume”

Advertisements