The Unparalleled Album For White People To Cry To
I attempt to capture the very best of things by offering my own, very prestigious award to outstanding works in my very own made-up categories. The “SHRAMMIES” are less like an Oscar and more like a wrestling belt, so be prepared for my favourite things to be dethroned by new bloodthirsty challengers.
The SHRAMMIE for
“The Unparalleled Album For White People To Cry To”
with their self titled album,
What a place to begin, ladies and gentlemen!
If you’re a white person who loves music, you knew they would win this award, and you’re weeping already. You have several somber memories where these melancholy soundscapes are their soundtrack. Odds are you’ve shed as many tears as I have over each and every track, since the album debuted in 2011.
For the uninitiated, “Bon Iver” (which is a bad French translation of “Good Winter” to Google Translate) is the epitome of deeply reflective soul-folk music. And if you thought those two genres shouldn’t be put together, then go back to Nickleback you heartless Philistine! Bon Iver was initially a front for lead singer Justin Vernon, who put out the first record after escaping to the barren wilderness of Wisconsin for somewhere between three months and thirty years. He emerged with great songs, a friendship with Kanye West, and eventually another five members to his band–who suffer the chronic “also ran” namelessness of most iconic musical acts.
But what of the aforementioned SHRAMMIE-winning album at hand?
Remember that time you drove to Best Buy, and it was raining? And you were thinking about those friends from high school you just don’t talk to anymore? Yep, that was “Perth” playing in the background. What about that indie film you saw, where the two main characters shared a heartwarming moment of connection without ever saying a word? And lens flare after lens flare washed over their perfect summer? Yep, “Wash” was on the soundtrack. And when you slipped out of the party with your real friends, just to have a heartfelt conversation on the patio? How someone had a little speaker there, just to set the mood? “Michicant” was the perfect choice for that heart-to-heart, no doubt.
I shamelessly know and love this music, and it makes me proud to be indie–even though it was one of the top rated albums of the year. It’s deep and dreamy, but it’s also dangerous: it makes white people confident enough to sing in falsetto. You know what a double-edged sword that can be.
Why don’t we take a climb to some of this majestic recording’s highest peaks?
Named after the city with the most developed sense of self-importance since Montreal, “Calgary” was a strong lead-single for this album.
On this album it’s considered to be “the one with the drums”, but as you’ll hear in a moment, it’s also so much more. And if you’re not into the Stampede or cowboy culture in general, and you don’t live in the wannabe capital of Alberta already, then this song is the main thing the city of Calgary has going for it in your opinion. Feel free to drink it in.
It’s never felt so good to sing about how un-magnificent you are. Holocene might be a made up place, or it might also be somewhere in Milwaukee. If you’re tired and sentimental, this song is a drug trip all on it’s own. The unprotected sax on this track will carry you off into your beautiful dreams.
By the end of this track, you too will believe you can see for “miles, miles, miles.” The guys on Rap Genius think this song is about smoking weed on Christmas. I know better: Justin wrote it just for my regrets.
Have you ever wondered what Phil Collins would sound like if everyone took him seriously? You don’t have to wonder. It’s all right here: a rich power ballad drizzled with synth. When you’re by yourself, this song can stand for it all. Your broken dreams, your wildest hopes, and your current struggles with your coworker Gary. Just let the syncopated rhythms wash over you.
Just be forewarned: by the final lonely electric guitar solo will demand all of your tears.
THE LINE WHICH BEST DESCRIBES WHETHER YOU WILL EITHER LOVE OR HATE THIS:
If you haven’t taken up your hipster privileges and given this record a spin, then I highly recommend it. Just remember: you aren’t held liable for not knowing the words. You can sing any dang thing you please, provided you have the phonetics right.