Music by VICE

Ponder This Video of Bon Iver Playing a Song for a Single Person

Who is this more awkward for?

by Phil Witmer
Oct 17 2017, 4:09pm

Justin Vernon is all about intimate art. We all know the story of Bon Iver's debut album For Emma, Forever Ago, how its carefully crafted folk was the product of heartbreak and possibly of trying to fight frostbite in a cabin with no heating. Though his band's music has steadily grown larger in scope, it seems that Vernon will always try to go back to those solitary roots whenever he can. In the debut installment of La Blogothèque's "One2One" video series, Vernon performs the 22, A Million cut "8 (circle)" for a single fan who was "kidnapped" from the audience. Apart from the implied confusion and terror of the situation, this video is strange for other reasons.

Much like the scenario of Rick Ross squeezing into the Nascar, this is yet another musical moment with no clear beginning or end. It keeps happening. Additionally, this is the second time this year that Vernon has performed for a micro-audience, as this odd, busker-like footage of him in Sweden portrays. As I said, he still likes to keep it low-key. The major question, then, is this: who is feeling the most awkward here?

It's certainly not Vernon, focused as he is on his finger-picking and nailing those high notes. There could be no one in the room and he'd be just fine. It's probably our hapless protagonist, suddenly whisked away from enjoying a festival with some buds and placed here in this basement that looks like a set from Saw. While she does seem to politely enjoy the solo show, a brief glance says volumes:

When your friend shows you a song they wrote and it kinda sucks but you know you still have to be nice

This is also definitely not that deep. Or maybe it is. You never can tell with Bon Iver. Examine the video for yourself above.

Phil is on Twitter.

Bon Iver
8 circle