In a musical landscape that seems preoccupied with looking back at all times, the word “nostalgia” comes up often. With the disco tinge of many of today’s chart-topping pop songs and artists like Taylor Swift exploring past work through their own meta-narratives, it’s been interesting to see this yearning for the past manifest in different ways. manners.
The tenth anniversary reissue of indie-folk band Bon Iver’s second album, the aptly titled Bon Iver, Bon Iver, exhibits yet another deviation from this trend. Given the album’s emphasis on time and place – and the congruence between the two – you could argue that this has always been its biggest draw.
“Records can take you to where you were – who you were – when you first listened to them,” wrote musician Phoebe Bridgers in an introductory essay for the reissue of the album, which the band celebrates. with a tour that includes a stop at the FPL Solar Amphitheater in Bayfront Park on Friday, April 15. In fact, one of the most striking things about Bon Iver, Bon Iver This is how it managed to evoke its themes of nostalgia while sounding new-age at the time of its release.
Take, for example, the album’s second single, “Holocene.” The intro, made up of two out of sync finger-picked guitar stops, is confusing but has a pleasant, rocking effect. You barely notice the track’s bloated instrumentals grow louder and more intrusive throughout the five-and-a-half-minute melody, making its back half such an emotional powerhouse. In the end, “Holocene” sounds like a completely different song. It went from something minimalist to something much grander, taking the listener on the same journey.
On the heels of the 2008 stripped For Emma there is always and the 2009 EP Blood bank2012 Bon Iver, Bon Iver marked a new musical direction for the band, with frontman Justin Vernon recounting rolling stone he had brought in new collaborators to “change the voice” of the project and its leadership role. This included the introduction of a wider set of instruments in a lo-fi style of recording.
This variety of instrumental textures is present throughout the disc. While “Hinnom, TX” takes an experimental approach, “Perth” and “Towers” expand into fuller, more orchestral sounds similar to “Holocene”. Meanwhile, the textured melodies of “Calgary,” “Lisbon, OH,” and “Beth/Rest” can be classified as chamber pop.
As evidenced by the tracklist, the sets are also essential to the narration on Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Each song is titled after a different location, with each location having a special connection to Vernon and his collaborators. The history of “Perth” is particularly interesting. According to Vernon, the idea for the song came to him while filming the music video for “Wolves” in 2008. Filming was halted when the director of the video, Matt Amato, received the devastating news that his friend, the actor Heath Ledger, had died. . The song is named after the town where Ledger was born.
“Perth has such a feeling of isolation, and it also rhymes with birth, and every song I ended up doing after that kind of drifted into that theme, tying itself to places and trying to explain which places are and which places aren’t,” Vernon said. rolling stone.
The aforementioned “Holocene” tells of a painful break from a second-person perspective. In an interview with NPR, Vernon explained that the song’s title comes from a bar in Portland, Oregon — which also happens to be the name of our current geological era. It encapsulates the album’s many fixations on places, people and time coming together to form something greater and taking comfort in the fact that our difficulties are miniscule in the eyes of the universe.
“Our lives resemble those times, but we’re really dust in the wind,” he told NPR’s Jess Gitner. “But I think there’s meaning in that insignificance that I was trying to look at in that song.”
In this same thread, “Holocene” recalls the inspiration of so many different anecdotes at once. Vernon revealed to Pitchfork that, despite the song’s Oregon namesake, much of the inspiration for “Holocene” comes from his time spent in different Wisconsin towns – the result being an amalgamation of moods that come with the memories. of these places. In Milwaukee, he said, adults “got drunk on beer” on Halloween to forget about their childhoods. This is referenced in the song’s opening verse, in which the protagonist drinks from his own painful breakup.
Ten years later, Vernon kept reminiscing. His last album, 2021 How long do you think it will last? came out as part of his other project, Big Red Machine, a band fronted by him and fellow writer, musician and producer Aaron Dessner. It focuses on childhood, family dynamics and mental health. The title is a line from their first single, “Latter Days”, written by collaborator Anaïs Mitchell.
“It was clear to Anaïs that the first sketch Justin and I made of ‘Latter Days’ was about childhood, or the loss of innocence and nostalgia for a time before you became an adult – before you hurt or lost people and made mistakes,” Dessner said. Variety Last year. “She defined the whole record when she sang that, because those same themes kept coming up over and over again.”
Since the release of the band’s second album, Bon Iver has released two more albums: 2016’s 22 one million and I, I in 2019. With the latter, the band embarked on a series of tour dates, many of which ended up being canceled due to the pandemic. The current tour marks a real comeback for the band, with Friday’s show celebrating the band’s return to Miami for the first time since a date at the Fillmore Miami Beach a decade ago. Fans will surely want to attend, if only to revisit the nostalgia of hearing the band perform tunes from their Grammy-winning album. Bridgers says it best when she writes that the record “amplifies feelings that are already there.”
“When you are asked to write on Bon Iver, Bon Iver you haven’t listened to it cover to cover since you were a teenager,” reads his birthday essay. “In the delicate balance of contentment, nostalgia, and depleted serotonin, you remember all the reasons why you love this album.”
Good Iver. With Dijon. 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 15 at FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550. Tickets cost between $29.50 and $119.50 through livenation.com.