Classics In The Making: Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Soundtrack to the cold grey winter.

Wintertime in Indiana – or anywhere in the midwest – just plain sucks.  The snow is nice during Christmas and it’s nice to have snow to bring in the new year, but soon the snow turns from white to grey and we all start to notice how bitter the cold is.  It is days like this where you don’t want to be outside, but rather hiding in your house, with no sun to make the day – or your attitude – any brighter.  There is a particular album that I listen to when the day is like this, when all I want to do is escape from the cold and get lost in my music, and that album is For Emma, Forever Ago by Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver.

This album appeals to the isolationist in all of us, for it was written by one.  After breakups with his band and girlfriend, Vernon retrieved to his father’s cabin in Wisconsin during the winter months to clear his head, and what came out was this collection of beautiful songs.  The songs are lush but minimal, with only acoustic guitars and bits of soft drums to accompany Vernon’s layered falsetto voice (it’s hard to figure out what he’s saying most of the time, but it sure does sound pretty).  Tracks like “Skinny Love”, “Blindsided”, and “Re: Stacks” are the standouts, all of which can be taken away from the album and still hold its gentle disposition.

The most incredible thing about this album is how clear we can see ourselves in the Wisconsin hills, surrounded by nothing but the snow and our thoughts.  This album takes you to where Vernon was, that dark place we all go to from time to time.  So enjoy the music, and enjoy your time alone with yourself.

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