#35 bon iver – the wolves (act I and II)

i’ve taken a bit longer than others to get my copy of bon iver‘s for emma, forever ago, but i think the wait – while largely unjustified – has been well worth it. the album, released earlier this year on jagjaguwar, is a debut masterpiece never to be rushed into, but slowly savored and appreciated. recorded over a period of three months in a hunting cabin in northwestern wisconsin, it has an uncanny ability of absorbing its surroundings with its gentle presence and enduring companionship which grows with the familiarity of each listen. while the first recognizable highlight in the record is the invitingly immediate “skinny love”, the song that follows it proves to be a more sustained effort. “the wolves (act I and II)” begins on a measured and almost wary footing, which eventually gathers courage and momentum as justin vernon repeats with increasing conviction “what might have been lost/ don’t bother me”. it’s a refrain that invariably stirs and unsettles, especially when it finds company in the rousing clamor that supports it. but it all comes full circle at the end in what has been an emotionally draining but ultimately fulfilling journey.

mp3: bon iver – the wolves (act I and II)


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