Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Best of 2011: Bon Iver - "Beth/Rest"

Bon Iver's latest, self-titled (or is it double-self-titled, who knows!) album has been in the bedroom CD player for about a month and a half. It's sort of the perfect CD to have in your bedroom CD player. It's good for reading to, sleeping to, tender situations, you name it! It's a multi-purpose album, and one of my favorite albums of the year so far if only because I've listened to it like 100 times and I'm still not sick of it. So, a couple of weeks ago I read that the monster closing track "Beth/Rest" was "divisive" amongst critics. Divisive because it's got soft rock sounding keyboards, sax, and guitar solos. And I'm asking these critics who are trashing on this track this: Did you not listen to Destroyer's Kaputt? Homeboy made a whole album based around easy listening and cheesy sax solos and critics loved it and they loved it because it's one of the best albums of the year. So I don't see how "Beth/Rest" is divisive. I don't see how any critic worth his weight in free promo CDs and plus ones would actively single out the last track on an album that is clearly building up to that last track. I guess people didn't like the end of "Lost," so I can see potentially being let down, but only if this track was legitimately bad. Cheesy and corny? Well, sure, but that seems to be the point. To employ those elements and overcome the shittiness of that bygone genre to make something spectacular. It would make more sense to just straight up hate this record than to single out "Beth/Rest." Haters gonna hate, though, and Bon Iver's reached that level of popularity that creates a backlash amongst the snob elite that I really can't understand. It's ok if other people like this, and it's ok if those people are sorority girls or 15 year olds because really, that seems to be the point. Having music that is universally loved be actual good music is a novelty these days and hell, if Arcade Fire or Bon Iver are gonna get all beloved, then isn't that a good thing? Side quest rant aside, there are some mega-hits on Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Bon Iver and it's exactly the kind of departure Justin Vernon needed to make. He can't record albums in the woods forever, you know.

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