Someone please explain Bon Iver

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Jake
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Someone please explain Bon Iver

Postby Jake » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:42 pm

I don't get it. I read the interviews and he seems exactly like the kind of guy I'd like. Beer drinking midwesterner. I resisted the hype for a year. But I recently picked it up.

So I hear the music and sings like a girl. What the fuck is up with his voice? And why do people think that's okay? It sounds stupid.

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Justin explains the voice

Postby BandyLou » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:05 pm

“That was definitely something new for me,” he answered, when asked about the high singing. “With the other band, I sang everything in a pretty low voice ... very confessional, very obvious.”

“The falsetto stuff, it must be a reaction to the black gospel singers that I really enjoy listening to,” he continued. “Like the Staple Singers, Mahalia Jackson, and Sam Cooke. I was never really able to sound authentic, in my own ears, singing with that kind of voice before. It’s not that I do now; it’s just that I felt more comfortable singing certain phrases and certain painful combinations of notes with that voice. It wasn’t a conscious decision at all. It just sort of happened.”

“Those old Appalachian singers use a falsetto sometimes, too,” Vernon said. “They can change their voices to sound high or low or really scratchy. When you’re singing, usually you’re trying to express some kind of pain or joy. I think that voice allows me to do a lot more of that.”
from http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/isolation-songs-an-interview-with-bon-ivers-justin-vernon/

Weird... I've been resisting the hype all year, but I'm going to ask for the album for Xmas. I liked the sound of the songs first, and later found out he was a midwesterner. And a hunter. Etc.

There's no getting around a voice you don't like, though.

jonas
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Postby jonas » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:20 pm

I bought it shortly after TV on the Radio and so was acclimated to the high voice. And I sort of liked it, briefly, but consigned it to my year-end 'overrated' list.

Jake
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Re: Justin explains the voice

Postby Jake » Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:14 am

BandyLou wrote:There's no getting around a voice you don't like, though.

That's definitely true. But as someone who considers himself an open-minded music lover, I'm always interested in my initial gut reaction. Most of the time I trust my gut, but there have been plenty of times that my gut was just being stupid or lazy or bitchy. And something about Bon Iver makes me think I might be being too quick to judge. So I turn to you all.

That said, I don't like My Morning Jacket -- mostly because of the voice, but also because of the production -- and this reminds me a bit of that... Maybe it's just not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, Justin Vernon still seems like a cool guy.

D. Phillips
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Re: Justin explains the voice

Postby D. Phillips » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:38 pm

Jake wrote:That's definitely true. But as someone who considers himself an open-minded music lover, I'm always interested in my initial gut reaction. Most of the time I trust my gut, but there have been plenty of times that my gut was just being stupid or lazy or bitchy. And something about Bon Iver makes me think I might be being too quick to judge. So I turn to you all.

That said, I don't like My Morning Jacket -- mostly because of the voice, but also because of the production -- and this reminds me a bit of that... Maybe it's just not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, Justin Vernon still seems like a cool guy.


I hate the latest MMJ album. Like...HATE IT.

Barabajagal
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Re: Justin explains the voice

Postby Barabajagal » Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:06 pm

D. Phillips wrote:I hate the latest MMJ album. Like...HATE IT.


Yeah, that album actually made me almost angry. However, not as mad as I would have been had I actually bought it.

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Postby Maarten » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:22 am

i was pretty much unimpressed by this record as well, not because he squeaks (i generally like guys who squeak) but by the plain mediocrity of it all. actually as the year went by i couldn't help feeling more and more dumbstruck by what musicjournalists collectively seemed to appraise. makes me wonder was 08 really such a poor year, do these journos get a bonus for randomly picking new favourites from a list or am i getting blase from downloading too much, or just old.

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Postby Barabajagal » Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:06 pm

Maarten wrote:actually as the year went by i couldn't help feeling more and more dumbstruck by what musicjournalists collectively seemed to appraise. makes me wonder was 08 really such a poor year, do these journos get a bonus for randomly picking new favourites from a list or am i getting blase from downloading too much, or just old.


You rang? ;-)

All of the above, probably. Here's my babblinjagoff theory:

As far as those journalists, they have to write and produce content--and are maybe not so much pressured, but influenced as to what to write about. The truth is that it's not so much that the music warrants notice, but that the artist has something they can write about in relation to it. The really good, vocationally-called journalist knows this is actually her/his job--that is, to make his/her own content; but the average 'listen to 20/review 5 records a week" person just doesn't have the energy. And often they're really young folx who think they have something figured out and don't have a clue about things they haven't (hence, TV on the Radio is constantly called "innovative.")(and also, we've all been that person)

Think about it: I have not heard any Bon Iver (I clicked on a YouTube link and didn't stay with it) but I sure as hell know the guy recorded in a cabin in the woods. Even the records that measure up to the hype and hold up pretty well over the years, like the Wrens' Meadowlands or Arcade Fire's Funeral--those came part and parcel with a compelling back story.

Mind you, I think they're usually all deserving artists (including TV on the Radio). But you take these factors and couple them with commercial pressure, and the trends and fashions that journalists seem fated to follow, and there you have Why Year-End Lists Should Be Retroactive to at Least the Previous Year.

Maarten
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Postby Maarten » Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:45 pm

Barabajagal wrote:You rang? ;-)

All of the above, probably. Here's my babblinjagoff theory:

As far as those journalists, they have to write and produce content--and are maybe not so much pressured, but influenced as to what to write about. The truth is that it's not so much that the music warrants notice, but that the artist has something they can write about in relation to it.


i never rang but you ring true.

well, happy i'm not a journalist. as an experiment i'm thinking of a new years resolution meaning i won't get a record solely because of reading about it. maybe in order to do this it's an idea to stop reading about new music at all. those metacritic ratings are all too deceiving anyway. in the past it always went like this; i heard a song on the radio and bought the album. usually ended up not liking half of it but still being more or less satisfied. these days, i read something, download it and then press delete. basically i've been spoiled by modern times. right?

well, that and music in 2008 sucked and journalists are evil conspirators.

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Postby jonas » Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:09 pm

Maarten wrote:well, that and music in 2008 sucked


Nick Cave begs to differ!


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