Bon Iver for Bon Iver

The mention of Bon Iver’s music is often met with the stirring of many emotions. I myself will always be able to remember the first time I heard “Skinny Love” (riding in the passenger seat with my current romantic interest, the windows down, a calm cool night in North Carolina, and all of a sudden this voice on the speakers starts whispering to me everything I was feeling at that moment with graduation only a few weeks away: “skinny love just last the year…”).

I was in love.

Generally speaking, most people that have fallen for the raw grace of For Emma, Forever Ago will have a similar story to mine. The emotions wrapped in that album are so powerful and real (after all, they were written for a girl following a break-up) that you can’t help but relate to them. For a debut album, it was significant. It connected to people and created ties between listeners and the song-writer/singer. Ties that have held us to wait and wonder what Bon Iver has to offer us next.

I can’t usually stand to read reviews. All the fancy music terminology reviewers use, obscure references they throw in just to make us feel stupid, and nit-picky ways to say “yeah this could have been better” (I’d love to see them do better). When I tell someone about an album I prefer to stick to basics: loved it, hated it. Let people decide for themselves. I know music is art and critics will always exist to tell us what we should or shouldn’t be listening to. But that doesn’t mean we have to listen to them.

As of now, I refuse to read a review for Bon Iver, the self-titled second album that will be released June 21st. The album is currently streaming at NPR and while checking out the album I couldn’t help but notice two phrases: “Grand, chance-taking record” and “dares to be dreamy” (okay so maybe I read a few paragraphs of the NPR write-up).

“Chance-taking” ? “Dreamy” ?

I have had this album on repeat for the last 3 hours. All I can say is that I am incredibly impressed with this album. The fact that Justin Vernon did not make another Emma is all that I could have ever hoped for and yet this album surpasses his first in a way that I never thought would be possible. To think that an artist could hit such high acclaim after only one album was nearly inconceivable. The emotional connection is still there from the first album, but this time the lyrics are less clear (even hard to make out at times). At first listen, Bon Iver is not much of a departure from Emma in terms of sound and meaning, but rather clarity. I love when artists do something different, I love when they challenge themselves, and I especially love when it works. So maybe he did take some chances. This album has me literally holding my breath at times- starting with the drums and horns in “Perth” and ending with the miracle of electric sound that is “Beth/Rest”. That didn’t quite exist in a straight forward guitar album like Emma. At least not in the same way. I can’t help but feel lost in this album, and I like that.

This album is called Bon Iver for a reason. It’s not for Emma this time. It’s not for anyone really (or it might be, but I am blissfully unaware because I am refusing to read reviews). It’s the next step in Justin Vernon’s musical journey. And I am so happy to be a part of it.

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Countdown to Shutdown

Readers!

We are asking for submissions for our upcoming segment:

Countdown to Shutdown: Songs of Crisis

So head on over to our tumblr (or respond to this post) and submit songs, videos, lyrics…. Give us music that you think is the ultimate theme song to this governmental crisis!

And stay tuned! The playlist will be posted at midnight (EDT) tonight!

Koothrappali’s Tunes

A witty little show you may not be watching is The Big Bang Theory.   The show is about a geeky group of physicists and how their world turns around when a hot neighbor moves next door. While the series is primarily about the hot neighbor, Penny, and the guys across the hall, Sheldon and Leonard, we wanted to feature someone else on the show: Rajesh Koothrappali.  He is the shy ine who doesn’t have many lines but often he steals the scence much like the Marx brothers’ Harpo…but instead of chasing girls, he is often found running away from them.

He is physically unable to speak in front of women, a condition Leonard’s psychiatric mother called selective mutism.  This social anxiety is suppressed with alcohol, but Koothrappali is an obnoxious drunk.

As you can guess by his name, Koothrappali is from India.  While he despises Indian food, we think he would listen to Bollywood classics.  He is obviously a fan of the genre, because when discovered a planetary object beyond the Kuiper Belt, he named it “PlanetBollywood.” Stayed tune for songs from Koothrappali’s iPod.

Oh Dear God.

Comfortably cuddled in my favorite chair, and watching Project Runway on Lifetime, I happened to glance up during a commercial break to see the channel’s brand new movie, The Pregnancy Pact. It’s based on true events (which occurred in Gloucester, MA, close to my hometown), about a bunch of teenagers who all get pregnant because they promised their bfff they would b/c she totes did too. OMG. And as if the premise wasn’t as…cringe-worthy as it could be, the ad for the movie premiere sends it over the deep end and plunging into the earth’s crust. They kind of pitch it as some sort of creepy scary story. I swear, it’s the same voice as the guy from all of those thriller movie previews. Really, Lifetime? Have you really already decided to pitch it from an obviously one-sided view? That’s not to say I support teen pregnancy, but it bothers me that the ads are already steering viewers in one direction.What do you think?

Obsessed With: Florence and the Machine

So, I like to run, you know, for exercise. At the beginning of every run, I like to kick off with a fun song to keep me going. Right now, that song is “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine. Upbeat, happy, and kind of off-beat, this tune and music collaboration led by Florence Welch, released their first album, titled Lungs, in summer of 2009 out of the U.K. It jumped quickly up the top 40 chart, and now a second album, You’ve Got the Love, came out this month.

I absolutely LOVE Florence’s soul-y voice, and how she combines it with indie-rock. Here’s a video of “Dog Days Are Over”, so you can see what I am talking about.

So yeah, it is kind of exactly what one would expect from an indie video; I know I wasn’t too impressed by the concept of it, although it is well costumed. This may sound weird, but I love the way Florence’s mouth is gigantic and how she sings into the camera. It’s my favorite part of the vid, other than the glitter.

P.S. I could totally see this song being used in a commercial of some sort. I am thinking running shoes, obviously. Do you dig Florence and the Machine as much as me? I want to know!