ed’s note: really, really wanted album #69 to be GAYNGS, but we can’t win ‘em all, now can we?
Up top, I wanna say that I’m not a contrarian just for the hell of it.
As a person, there are few things I actually like. I don’t buy into a lot of “conventional” ideas no matter what the topic is – but it’s never for the sake of doing so. For example, I own a TV but don’t have cable. But I don’t not have it just so I can state I don’t have cable. I’m actually just poor and not home enough to watch it.
I don’t buy into a lot of “conventional” ideas about religion or politics or, I don’t know, anything really. More than likely, this explains why I am so passionate and enthusiastic about the things I do like.
I’ve never set out with the intention of being different just so that I could say that I was different. Some people just don’t like certain things that a lot of other people like.
This all sounds very vague in its current context, but I promise there’s a purpose here.
It’s for this reason that I don’t really care for a band like The Beatles (gasp, I know). Millions of people the world over bask in the glory that was the British Invasion.
I totally understand their influence. I totally get why people like them. But I can’t listen to them without wanting to crawl out of my own skin.
Similarly, millions of people fall over themselves for Justin Vernon and Bon Iver.
I totally get it. I do! I mean, look:
He’s a good-looking guy: rugged, at times disheveled, with a shaggy, unkempt beard.
He’s the type of musician that makes other musicians want to be better at their instrument, or makes some people want to quit altogether.
He’s got the type of pipes that can stretch and bend to infinity, and you would never expect that voice to come out of that dude.
And he’s sold a boatload of records because his music is emotional and raw, but still tender and relatable. There’s no gimmicks or flash to it, no clever posturing or distractions. From what I’ve seen, he also puts on a whale of a live show.
I just… can’t get into it. Me, Alex Schelldorf. Just me. I don’t like the majority of Bon Iver.
I’ve tried. I even succeeded with “Perth” from his self-titled album. That’s a bang-up song. I have these two albums because of a relationship I was in. She really liked them, and still does. I kept these albums on this list to see if I could give them yet another chance. But it doesn’t do anything for me, then or now.
Please don’t get it twisted, at all: I respect the hell out of Justin Vernon. His work on the GAYNGS album is amazing and I could listen to that record for another decade without getting tired of it.
If anything, don’t take away from this post that I don’t like Bon Iver. I’m not even so much defending my freedom to dislike it.
Take away that it’s okay to not care for something that everyone else likes. Take away that you can still be respectful of what other people like, no matter how vehemently you dislike it.
No matter how terrible I think Nickelback is, there are decent human beings who like their music. I could be ironic and say I pray for these people- but everyone’s got their thing. And what does the band care? Considering they’re all multi-millionaires and Chad Kroeger is married to my teenage crush Avril Lavigne. A MAN CAN DREAM.
Maybe those types of people never made it past their radio. Maybe they don’t know about Spotify or don’t have a music guru in their life.
Be someone’s music guru. That’s my charge. Call to action. Go.
From 2008’s (officially) For Emma, Forever Ago, this is Bon Iver’s “Stacks” –
Standout tracks: “Standout Fear” and “For Emma” are both pretty nice.
Weakest track: I won’t knock on anything here because this seems to be a million people’s favorite record.
RIYL: Soothing, acoustic, folk music. Iron & Wine or maybe S. Carey.