Track Review: Bon Iver, “33 ‘GOD'”
Bon Iver – aka Justin Vernon – returns with single “33 ‘GOD’.” “33 ‘GOD’” provides the first sneak peek into the forthcoming album, 22, A Million. Judging by this quirky, oddly-titled single, 22, A Million – due September 30 – should be quite the trip.
“33 ‘God’” opens with piano patch, complemented with samples and various patches. The piano carries a nice rhythmic groove, signifying pop and urban cues without being overtly either. As always, Justin Vernon’s voice is haunting. The timbre of his pipes is stunning and the vocals beautifully produced. As always, Bon Iver does gimmicky and disjointedness well considering his eclectic musical tastes.
The song itself is sort of mystical. It dabbles in romance, a potential hook-up, reminiscing back on younger days, and religion and the lack thereof. Numerous theme can be interpreted from a diverse set of lyrics. The first signal of a budding romance is when Vernon sings,
“I’d be happy as hell, if you stayed for tea.”
He goes on to reminisce on younger days while suggesting spending time together builds a bond; a true relationship.
“This is how we grow now woman / a child ignored / these will just be places to me now”
Other notable lyrics include, “We find God and religions too / staying at the Ace Hotel.” This particularly lyric arguably likens the potential relationship (or hook up) to spirituality. Hence, this clearly triggers an agnostic/atheistic sentiment. Why? Many devout Christians wouldn’t necessarily liken a human relationship to one with God, no matter how deep it is. Regardless where Vernon stands spiritually, it’s an awesome, thought-provoking lyric.
One final lyrical passage stands out:
“I didn’t need you that night / not gonna need you anytime / was gonna take it as it goes / I could go forward in the light / well I better fold my clothes”
It seems that things didn’t work out within the potential relationship/hook-up narrative, and Vernon is moving on (“Well I better fold my clothes”).
“33 ‘God’” is bizarre. Despite being difficult to pinpoint, it’s brilliant at the same time. Ultimately, it’s quite different from any- and everything else that’s been released as of late. It is well produced, ambitious, and definitely captivating.