For a project with as many lush, jaw-dropping tracks as Bon Iver, selecting a song of the decade to represent Vernon’s artistry was no easy feat. ‘Holocene’ could have been selected just as easily as one of 22, A Million‘s electronically-infused gems – but nothing encapsulates the “Bon Iver aura” to me quite like “Perth.” The song inhales fresh rivers and pine, and exhales with the rejuvenating rush of an avalanche rolling down the ice-capped Wisconsin mountainside. When I listen to this song I’m transported straight into the wilderness, which of course, is the essence of Bon Iver.
I think was really does me in every time is the transformation at 2:30 – where “Perth” goes from beautiful acoustics to stunningly regal, brass-laden post-rock. I can envision rocks tumbling down the side of a mountain with fervor; clouds rolling across the sky in fast-motion; a blackened sky opening up, giving way to veins of golden lightning. The song is pastoral in context but celestial in sound, an aesthetic clash of the tangible and ethereal that is all too mesmerizing. If someone asked me to pick one song to introduce a friend to Bon Iver, I’d select “Perth” 10 out of 10 times. It envelopes all of Vernon’s best qualities as an artist, leaving a jaw-dropping atmosphere in its wake.