Song of the Day: “8 (circle)”


It takes courage and artistic vision to take risks with music that has already won you commercial success, but lasting artists persist in doing just that. Bon Iver’s third album, 22, A Million, supports this view. The familiarly warm and affecting melodies of song writer Justin Vernon’s earlier work are reinvented here, nested in a cocoon of distortion and digital noise that holds listeners at arm’s length, rather than drawing them in close. The riskiness of such production calls to mind Vernon’s famous collaborator, Kanye West, in particular West’s fantastic and schizophrenic 2013 record, Yeezus. The track “8 (circle)” recalls Bon Iver’s first two records in its soothing maximalism. Reverb lends the song the dramatic flair of the best of Phil Collins, while Vernon’s overlapping, stream-of-consciousness vocals make it a standout track on this complicated and rewarding album.

Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte,, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. More from this author →