I thought that Justin Vernon's dalliances with the mainstream had peaked in 2012 when his project Bon Iver won the Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album. But last week, he appeared on Taylor Swift's new album folklore, co-writing and singing the song "exile," an arguably bigger stride into the spotlight. Not done with the unexpected and enjoyable guest appearances yet, Bon Iver is back with a new single called "AUATC," featuring Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis, Elsa Jensen, Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, and none other than Bruce Springsteen. It doesn't get much bigger than that, but of course, Bon Iver pulls it off with another inimitable intersection of pop, folk, and experimental electronics. It's co-produced by Jim-E-Stack, who's been on a roll recently. Watch the music video above, directed by Aaron Anderson and Eric Timothy Carlson and starring Randall Riley.
If you thought the title "AUATC" might be an anti-capitalist allusion, you would be correct: in a press release, Bon Iver asked fans to donate to a number of different organizations "in an effort to fight capitalism and create a world best suited for everyone." Read the full statement below:
Each and every person on earth deserves to live fully with dignity, equity, justice, and joy. Instead, our capitalistic societies have created a world that is most supportive of the wealthy and the elite, and the predatory corporations and policies that drive their disproportionate success.
The average person is cast aside and unheard; marginalized communities are further oppressed due to race, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, creed, criminal record, housing stability, education, ability, documentation status, and more. The pandemic further magnifies these grave inequities and this unchecked greed.
We must continue the fight to topple capitalism as we know it, and recognize our collective participation in its dominant institutions. Bon Iver acknowledges our own position within and use of capitalistic practices. It is with recognition of our privilege that we are fully committed to using our unique platform to challenge and change capitalism within our industry, and far beyond.
We must empower and embrace our vulnerable neighbors. We must fight racism and sexism and classism to build a stronger foundation for the home we all deserve. We must support the leaders and organizations working to change our world for the better. From providing safe and stable housing, to empowering women, to liberating incarcerated people, to celebrating art and music, to fighting climate change, these organizations work tirelessly to foster a world that celebrates our humanity on a local, national, and global level. Please explore, support, and take action:
(join movement; participate in "Raise Your Voice for a #JustRecovery" campaign)
Thumbnail photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for The New Yorker