1001 Songs Challenge,  2010s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #979: Holocene (2011)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!


Bon Iver – Holocene (2011)

Holocene (song) – Wikipedia

” Holocene” is a song by American indie folk band Bon Iver. It was released as the second single from their album Bon Iver, Bon Iver on September 5, 2011. The single is backed with a cover of Peter Gabriel’s song “Come Talk to Me” as a B-side, which was previously released as a limited edition song for Record Store Day.


Lyrics (via Genius)
Learn more about this song (via Genius)


Welcome to 2011, dear reader. We ended 2010 in Trinidad, and we are beginning 2011 by taking a flight back to the US and to Wisconsin. Formed in 2006 by Justin Vernon, Bon Iver took its name from a French phrase meaning “good winter.” The group specialised in rock, folk and pop numbers and when we join them in 2011 it is with their second album, Bon Iver. From there 1001 Songs have gone with the track, Holocene

Holocene was written by Justin Vernon and he has described it as both a bar in Portland and reference to a geological era. Vernon attributes much of the song to a night he spent with his brother and how they wandered a near deserted road on what sounded like a winter’s night. Taking in the surroundings, Vernon was struck by the epiphany that he was just a small and insignificant part of the world, that he would one day be dust and bones like those who have lived and departed before us. The song is a sombre reflection of life, its intricacies, its magnificence and how we play but the tiniest of parts in its lifespan.  

I was not familiar with Bon Iver prior to this challenge but was impressed with Holocene. It is heavily acoustic driven while Vernon’s vocals are as light and serene as the snow and ice he recalled from that night long ago when he was struck by the inspiration for this track. Both the album and Holocene would be critically acclaimed, with the song itself picking up many awards along the way. Bon Iver continue to perform and are still wowing both critics and fans with their material.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

The Doors – The End (1967)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)

U2 – One (1991)

Radiohead – Paranoid Android (1997)

Snow Patrol – Run

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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