I love this song by Bon Iver (Justin Vernon). I don’t think his falsetto vocals work in every song, but I think they work really well in this one. The repetitive rhythm of the guitar sounds like riding a bike through a shaded drive on the outskirts of town.
I wasn’t entirely sure what “Holocene” meant, and so I looked it up on Wikipedia (my most reliable source). Holocene refers to the time period which began and the end of the Pleistocene (12,000 years ago) to the present. It “encompasses within it the growth and impacts of the human species world-wide, including all its written history and overall significant transition toward urban living in the present.” This definition gives the song much more meaning, particularly the recurring line “I could see for miles and miles and miles…”
Throughout the song, various pertinent points of Bon Iver’s history are called out, and this gives the line about being able to see for miles and miles the feeling that he (Justin Vernon) is able to step back and see the relevance of those events in relation to the bigger picture – his world view has expanded, and he can see that he is a part of something that is bigger than himself.
Justin Vernon said of this song: “Holocene is a bar in Portland, Ore., 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? [Laughs.] 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.”
Significance in the insignificance. hmmm. Well, anyway, I think it’s a great song.