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Saturday, April 21, 2012

"re: Stacks"

Bon Iver - "re: Stacks" (2007)

"/This is not the sound of a new man of crispy realization / It's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away. /"

Not as famous as Jewel's time spent living in her van before making it big, the three months that Justin Vernon had mono in a cabin in the woods brought about the debut album of Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago. At the time, Vernon was the only member of the band, and he is still the only major creative force. He writes and composes all of the songs, and no one else gets a writing credit on the album. On the first album, Vernon did the sound engineering and production as well. There are three other musicians listed on the album notes, but none of them play on this track. It's deep lyrically, the title and many of the lyrics are meant to reference stacks of chips in Vegas as well as 'how things stack up'. The opening line however is reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The song itself is about six and a half minutes long, and yet really just about 45 seconds or so of music repeated over and over. The lyrics can be hard to make out sometimes. For a universally praised album,. The consistent fault found with it is that sometimes the lyrics sound muddy. Vernon's voice is almost entirely in falsetto during the song. He also doubles himself to give a stronger sound. Every once in a while I swear I can hear a faint organ supporting the man and his guitar, but the liner notes don't mention one. It must just be ringing guitar strings.

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