everything that happens is from now on
during my recent months of perpetual busyness and silence here, i started listening to bon iver's for emma, forever ago. with everything i had going on, i never had a chance to pay much attention to the lyrics or look into the stories behind the songs, but the subdued tone of the music made for nice background sounds as i was falling asleep. as such, i had played the album at least 20 times before i finally had a chance to really listen to it, and so it wasn't until just recently that my appreciation for this piece of art reached a level that even came to close to being appropriate. it's just one of those albums, i guess--so seemingly unobtrusive and inconspicuous on the surface to make it easy to overlook, but underneath lies the remnants of something stunningly beautiful.
the backstory has been told many other places in much more eloquent ways than i ever could, but for emma, forever ago is the product of a catharsis. the gravity of the nine songs represent the deliberations and reflections of a man so longed steeped in sadness and loneliness that his mirrored reflection, perhaps once unrecognizable at the beginning of this pain, had probably become...familiar. but the songs are also a process, illuminating a path on which failure, disappointment, and heartache can be weathered, and by the end he's in a different place completely: "this is not the sound of a new man / or a crispy realization / it's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away". there will always be challenges in life, but learning how to let go of what can be let go, and knowing where to put the things that can't, is an endeavor of majestic proportions. and an album that is so purely reflective of that process is surely one of the best of the year.
bon iver : "re: stacks"
from the lp for emma, forever ago (self-released, 2007; jagjaguwar, 2008)