I scour the Internet for music, I have to; it is my unofficial job. 2011 was an interesting year; it was interesting for a variety of reasons. The first thing that made 2011 different was that 2010 was a tough act to follow, I own so many CDs that came out in 2010, and so many of my active favorites released albums that year, so 2011 left me kind of scratching my head and searching harder than usual. Also I am taking this whole Music In Review thing more seriously than I used too, and that could be considered interesting too I suppose.
Guess what the world thought was the best song in 2011? You will not guess it, and you know why you will not guess it, because you have never heard of it. According to many a music critic the best song of 2011 is, Bon Iver – Calgary.
I think it is fantastic that a hit song (sort of) is named after my home. When I discovered Bon Iver’s “Calgary,” my first thought was that some local band was winning the hearts of the indie crowd, but I was mistaken, the band is from Eau Claire Wisconsin. I think it’s really nice some folks decided to name their song after Calgary. Other than the oil industry and the Stampede people do not pay that much attention to us. So yeah! Somebody likes us.
Even though I never heard “Calgary” on the radio, or on MTV, or ever heard anyone ever talk about the song, apparently we are all suppose to know that it was in fact the best song of 2011. Who knew? That’s hipsters for you, always trying so hard to be obscure, and to be perfectly honest I can think of several songs I enjoyed more than “Calgary,” from last year.
I think about a lot of different things when I think of “Calgary.” Admittedly I am making a bigger deal about the name than I should, and the other music critics out there being different and slightly silly should be no surprise, but there is just so much to talk about here. I can ramble on and on about how my cool ass city of Calgary is getting noticed, and how it is a fine compliment to have a song named after us. I can ramble about how “Calgary,” is one of those songs that is undeservedly ignored by the public but grossly overrated by those folks who fancy themselves the great discoveries of the obscure. I could. I could go on and on about the social significance of this song, but I don’t want too, because it’s stupid, but I have too, but it is inevitable.
It is not a big deal that the city of Calgary has a song named after it, and listening to the lyrically content the song is clearly called “Calgary” arbitrarily; this song has nothing to do with the city of Calgary specifically. Also it is not a big deal that a bunch of pretentious music maniacs have all decided to conform to each other so they can pretend they are unique (we call them hypocrites where I came from, and I come from Calgary) that’s not important. What is important is the music.
This leads me to the point, what do I think of Bon Iver’s “Calgary?”
It is pretty good.
It is about half as good as the Internet indie subculture is making it out to be, but it is a pretty good song. “Calgary,” is very, very atmospheric, has a somewhat unique singer style from front man Justin Vernon but not really, and it has really good pacing. All in all, this is a fine piece of work, and someone should make a stand to point out that it should be noticed, and I am doing that now, but... best song of the year? Really? This is it huh folks?
Truthfully I would not have cared half so much if my city’s name was not in the title. Truthfully I would not care so much, but I was confused by my peers pleasuring themselves to this song. I guess the lesson of this Music in Review is confusion. Weirdly I like “Calgary,” almost more so for the long dialogues it could prompt, if, of course, anyone else I knew had heard the damn song... so yeah, I look forward to hearing from you.
In summation, Calgary is cool, I live there. The song is nice too. One of those songs that is underappreciated and overrated at the same time.
Until later this month, keep on rocking in the free world.
- Colin Kelly
P.S. Also everyone seems to really like Bon Iver’s cover of “I can’t make you Love me.”