Friday, February 17, 2012

And For Once He Was Magnificent

This is currently the background of my computer
I have a pain in my chest and it's caused by this man, Justin Vernon, the man behind the beautiful voice that is Bon Iver. I first fell in love with him when I heard the duclet tones of "Skinny Love" on an episode of Grey's Anatomy. After that I was hooked. I listened to (and still do) For Emma, For Ever Ago with an almost religious fervor and I still put at least one track on every mixed CD I make. There is just something about this man's music that touches me right down to my very soul. His lyrics are pure poetry and even though they don't make sense all of the time they speak to me about love, loss, and the pure beauty of the universe. His voice is husky and deep and resonates with a clarity that reaches down and pulls at parts of you that you didn't even know were lonely. I can listen to his music no matter how I am feeling; happy or sad, Bon Iver works for all occasions. And even as much as I love Morrissey and the Beatles, I honestly think Vernon's voice is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard (and that's saying a lot). I don't even really believe he is that attractive, it is just that when he opens his mouth he becomes the most beautiful person on earth.
When his self titled album came out this year I bought it at midnight and listened to it on repeat. There is not one track I dislike on the entire album. Besides Florence + the Machine's Ceremonials, it is the most played album on my i-tunes. It is so different from For Emma. The album is still haunting and magnificent (despite what Vernon might think), but there is also a maturity that comes from Bon Iver. What the album has lost in rawness, it gains in composure.
One of the things I like most about Vernon is his honesty, not only in his beliefs, but in his music. I truly feel that he is an artist who creates music because he loves it and because he has something to say, not for all the money and fame. Even with his recent Grammy win (and the hysterical name mispronunciation and "WTF" tweets that ensued) he has professed his pure love of  just making music and almost disdain for the awards process. That is why I was reluctant (but also incredibly happy) to see him win. In a world of autotune and over production it is nice to see an earnest, experimental album receive some recognition. It's like an indie movie winning the Oscar's.
If you're not convinced by what I am saying, neither Justin nor I care. However, I beg of you, listen to this live studio version of Veron and fellow Bon Iver member Sean Carey as they duel pianos and play some songs from their recent album. If this does not make you feel something, then you must already be beyond help. I was literally swooning upon hearing the opening notes of the first song, "Hinnom, TX." I know I've already shared him and I know that this is an unusual post, but since I have missed two successive Tuesdays, I think this incredible performance can make up for it. 
Review: No milk needed. Ever.

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