Bon Iver – Holocene

Bon Iver - Holocene

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Bon Iver - Holocene


"Holocene" is a song by American indie folk band Bon Iver. It was released as the second single from their album Bon Iver, Bon Iver on September 5, 2011.


Front man Justin Vernon explained the song title in an interview with Mojo: "It's partly named after the (geological) era, but it's also the name of a bar in Portland where I had a dark night of the soul."

He also stated that "the title is a metaphor for when you're not doing well. But it's also a song about redemption and realizing that you're worth something; that you're special and not special at the same time."

Music video

The music video, directed by Nabil Elderkin, was filmed in the region of Vik in Iceland with a Red Camera. It features a blonde Icelandic boy waking up and roaming around the island's volcanic landscape and glaciers, equipped with just a walking stick.

Since the lyrics of "Holocene" describe the idea that the self is part of something greater, the music video highlights the expansive landscapes in contrast to the boy. The video was debuted on the National Geographic Channel. In January 2012, music video blog Yes, We've Got a Video! ranked it at number 10 in their top 30 videos of 2011, saying that the video "should serve as proof that the art of the music video is not dead."


Bon Iver's second album was rumored to be titled Letters for Marvin but was later confirmed to be Bon Iver. "I brought in a lot of people to change my voice – not my singing voice, but my role as the author of this band, this project," said Justin Vernon, band leader and founder, who hired well-known players like bass saxophonist Colin Stetson and pedal-steel guitarist Greg Leisz.

"I built the record myself, but I allowed those people to come in and change the scene." The second album is described as an "ambitious musical departure" from the first.

The band announced the release through various media and from the official Jagjaguwar and 4AD websites, on April 20, 2011. It was recorded in a remodeled veterinarian clinic in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, which was bought by Vernon and his brother in 2008.

It was converted into April Base Studios, built mainly over the defunct swimming pool attached to the clinic. Vernon's reason for recording in the location was that "[it's] been a wonderful freedom, working in a place we built. It's also only three miles from the house I grew up in, and just ten minutes from the bar where my parents met."


The album's first song "Perth", was the first song that Vernon recorded for the album; "The first thing I worked on, the riff and the beginning melodies, was the first song on the record, 'Perth,'" said Vernon.

"That was back in early 2008. The reason I called it that right away, is because I was with a guy that I didn't know very well, but basically, it’s a long story, but in the three days we were supposed to spend together — he’s a music video maker — in those three days, his best friend (Heath Ledger) died and he was from Perth. It just sort of became the beginning of the record.

And Perth has such a feeling of isolation, and also it rhymes with birth, and every song I ended up making after that just sort of drifted towards that theme, tying themselves to places and trying to explain what places are and what places aren't. We were down at my parents' house shooting the video for 'Wolves.'"

The director of the video, Matt Amato, happened to be close friends with Heath Ledger.

"It was January," Vernon said, "fucking 25 below. We're out shooting, and we come back in, and his phone had been going off."

Ledger, it turned out, was dead.

"So I've got this guy in my house whose best friend just passed away. He's sobbing in my arms. He can't go back to L.A. because the house is under siege. Michelle Williams is calling my parents' phone. All this stuff."

For the next two days, Amato drank brandy, cried and reminisced about Ledger riding horses back home in Perth. The morning he left, Vernon wrote the song's first draft.


The album's third song Holocene and second single was described by Vernon as being:

"'Holocene' is a bar in Portland, Oregon, but it’s also the name of a geologic era, an epoch if you will. It’s a good example of how all the songs are all meant to come together as this idea that places are times and people are places and times are… people? They can all be different and the same at the same time. Most of our lives feel like these epochs. That’s kind of what that song’s about.

“Once I knew I was not magnificent.” Our lives feel like these epochs, but really we are dust in the wind. But I think there's a significance in that insignificance that I was trying to look at in that song."


Bon Iver (/bn ˈvɛər/) is an American indie folk band founded in 2006 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. The name "Bon Iver" derives from the French phrase bon hiver (French pronunciation: ​[bɔn‿ivɛːʁ] ) ("good winter"), taken from a greeting on Northern Exposure.

Vernon released Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, independently in July 2007. The majority of that album was recorded while Vernon spent three months isolated in a cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. The band later won in 2012 the Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album for their album Bon Iver, Bon Iver with acclaimed song Holocene.

They released their third album 22, A Million to critical acclaim in 2016.



Some way baby, it's part of me, apart from me
You're laying waste to Halloween
You fucked it friend,
It's on it's head, it struck the street
You're in Milwaukee, off your feet

And at once I knew
I was not magnificent
Strayed above the highway aisle
Jagged vacance, thick with ice
I could see for miles, miles, miles

Third and lake, it burnt away, the hallway
Was where we learned to celebrate
Automatic bought the years you'd talk for me
That night you played me Lip Parade
Not the needle, nor the thread, the lost decree
Saying nothing, that's enough for me

And at once I knew
I was not magnificent
Hauled far from the highway
Jagged, vacant, thick with ice
I could see for miles, miles, miles

Christmas night, it clutched the light
The hallow bright
Above my brother, I and tangled spines
We smoked the screen to make it what it was to be
Now to know it in my memory

And at once I knew
I was not magnificent
High above the highway
Jagged vacance, thick with ice
I could see for miles, miles, miles


In qualche modo, piccola, è una parte di me divisa da me
Stai distruggendo Halloween
L'hai fottuto, amico, è oltre alle sue possibilità, ha colpito l'asfalto
Sei nel Milwaukee, a piedi

E subito ho saputo
Che non ero magnifico
Smarrito sulla corsia laterale dell'autostrada
(Jagged Vance, forte e con ghiaccio)
Potevo vedere miglia e miglia e miglia davanti a me

Tra la Terza e la Lake, è andato a fuoco, il portico
Era dove abbiamo imparato a festeggiare
L'autoscatto ha comprato gli anni di cui avresti parlato per me
Quella notte facesti suonare la "Lip Parade"
Non l'ago, ne il filo, il decreto perduto
Non dire niente, questo per me è abbastanza

E subito ho saputo
Che non ero magnifico
Trainato lontano dall'autostrada
(Jagged Vance, forte e con ghiaccio)
Potevo vedere miglia e miglia e miglia davanti a me

La notte di natale, stringeva la luce
Il sacro splendore
Sopra a mio fratello, io e la corona di spine
Abbiamo riempito di fumo lo schermo per renderlo quello che doveva essere
Non per conoscerlo nella mia memoria

E subito ho saputo
Che non ero magnifico
Veloce sull'autostrada
(Jagged Vance, forte e con ghiaccio)
Potevo vedere miglia e miglia e miglia davanti a me




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