Bon Iver Reveals Secret Behind Number 22


Bon Iver has a highly anticipated new album coming out next week called 22, A Million, which he introduced to the world via glitchy electronic first single, “22 (OVER S∞∞N)“. The titles of both the new album and lead single might make you wonder, “What’s the deal with with the number 22?”

Well, the New York Times interviewed Justin Vernon this week about the new album, and it turns out it’s not that interesting of a story. Basically, it’s just his high school football jersey number.

He has always been drawn to the number 22. While growing up and playing sports, he chose it as his jersey number; he also, he said, sets wake-up alarms to 22 minutes after the hour. As he chopped up the phrase “It might be over soon” in the sampler, “soon” began to turn into “two, two”: 22. […] Being 22 is me,” he said, “and then the last song being a million, which is this great elusive thing: like, what’s a million? The album deals a lot with duality in general and how that works into the math. I was big into Taoism in college, and the paradox of duality, and how it’s always one thing and the other — you can never have one thing without the other. So it’s 22 being me and a million being the Other. That was a way to look at it as a circle.”

I like Bon Iver. I really do. His first album is a classic and the only time I’ve ever witnessed him live, at the Fillmore in 2009, was truly one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. However, I think the man is out of ideas. Naming albums and songs after your football number isn’t exactly art. My prediction is this album’s probably going to suuuck.

Here’s “22 (OVER S∞∞N)”:

If you’ve read this far and still aren’t happy, do yourself a favor and check out Bon Iver Erotic Stories. You will be happy.

Edit: I’ve thought about this one long and hard, and it turns out I was wrong. With the exception of 10 Death Breast, this album is excellent.