Best music of 2011: Bon Iver

by chateauy

I love Bon Iver. I listened to their last album and EP several times a week for about a year and would have kept going had my colleagues not staged an intervention. In the opening scene of High Fidelity, John Cusack’s character asks us:

“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

I concluded that, in my case, perhaps it was the latter and prescribed myself a healthy dose of MIA and Kitty, Daisy and Lewis to pick myself back up.

But times have changed. No longer is Justin Vernon, the singer from Bon Iver, writing music about the love who broke his heart from his self-prescribed solitary confinement in a log cabin in Wisconsin (indeed given how romantic those songs and the story of the album was, I wouldn’t expect that the singer will ever find himself unloved again).

The song I have picked from the new album makes your heart swell, unlocking that sense of anticipation you had in your youth about the future and about who you would become, and making you soar with inspiration to fulfil your younger self’s dreams – or to at least keep dreaming. As Justin Vernon’s angelic voice sings “I can see for miles miles miles”, you feel your eyes opening – seeing beauty in your world that you normally ignore as you go about your busy life, seeing the small but precious acts of love that people around you show you everyday but which normally go unacknowledged and seeing the person you could be if you believed in yourself a bit more, went a little further out of your comfort zone, allowed yourself to fail on the way to achieving your goals.

Don’t miss the video clip to this song. It is set in the incredibly diverse and awe-inspiring country of Iceland and showcases the country so well that it makes you feel that you are there with the angelic-looking adventurous child, the dramatic landscape and the isolation that has created one of the most independent-people groups on the planet. In fact, it’s the most well made marketing clip a country could hope for – I hope Brand USA is taking notes!