[14] Bon Iver, ’22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]’

bon-iver-2016

It’s half a song with none of the wires plugged in properly, but Justin Vernon doesn’t need much space (nor, indeed, reliable electrics) to create something beautiful. The extended version slots a reflective early morning on the prairie in at the end, adding a late dab of understated grandeur to a withdrawn, tentative track that chose not to build into a greater piece.

Frustrating, really. The gorgeous, reaching, multi-tracked melody, the Mahalia Jackson samples, the gentle synth wash; they leave you wanting more. What it needs is that massive widdling solo from ‘Beth/Rest’.

Juniors 2 and 3 have a different hot take: “It’s out of tune.”

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[2] Bon Iver, ‘Calgary’

there’s a fire going out,
but there’s really nothing to the south
swollen orange and light let through
your one piece swimmer stuck to you

I think this is ‘Astral Weeks’, and the whole album is a son of Astral Weeks the album. It has a poetry wrapped up in the fug of memory, of magic, heartbreak and lost places. ‘Calgary’ is a rising storm with hooks too beautiful to remain composed in the face of, and anyway, Justin Vernon could make the TV Burp theme sound like a distraught elegy for Old Yeller.

Junior picks this up. “Oh, I know this one. Is it about someone dying?” Well, who the hell knows? It’s the impact that matters. As for her opinion – “The same thought that you think” – she’s learning Iverese.

So it should be No.1. It’s my favourite song of the year, but top spot goes to clearly the best single of the year. And it’s a disgrace.