Exploring the Meaning Behind Bon Iver’s “Calgary” and Other Popular Lyrics

Have you ever found yourself listening to Bon Iver and getting lost in the soulful lyrics of their songs? If you’re a fan, you’ve undoubtedly spent hours analyzing the meaning behind each line. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the lyrics to “Calgary” – one of Bon Iver’s most popular tracks – as well as other hits like “Beth/Rest” and “Speyside.”

For those not in the know, Bon Iver is the musical project of singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. Their music is known for its haunting melodies, intricate instrumentation, and heartfelt lyrics. Many fans have compared Vernon’s emotive style to the likes of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, but his sound is truly unique.

In this post, we’ll explore the hidden meanings and themes behind Bon Iver’s lyrics. From the nostalgic tone of “Beth/Rest” to the heart-wrenching story behind “Speyside,” we’ll uncover the stories behind the words and dig deep into what makes these songs so memorable. So, grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a deep dive into the lyrical world of Bon Iver.

Beth/Rest Lyrics: Understanding the Song’s Message

Bon Iver’s “Beth/Rest” is a powerful song that has moved many listeners with its poignant lyrics and hauntingly beautiful melody. Here’s a breakdown of the song’s lyrics and what they mean:

Beth/Rest Lyrics

Some of the notable lyrics in the song include:

  • “Errant heat to the star / And the rain let in” – This line is the opening of the song and introduces the theme of finding beauty in melancholy and sadness. The “errant heat” represents the burning passion that can sometimes lead to destruction, while the “rain let in” signifies the inevitability of pain and heartbreak.

  • “It’s the sound, the sound / Of the unlocking and the lift away” – This line alludes to the idea of freeing oneself from emotional baggage and moving on from past hurts. The “sound of unlocking” represents the moment of release and liberation, while the “lift away” is the act of moving on and leaving the past behind.

  • “The air break organ and the rusty nail / Dead bells and the burial” – This part of the song paints a vivid image of death and decay, with “dead bells” representing funeral bells and “the burial” signifying the final resting place of the deceased.

  • “Autumn, almanac, orchard and ladders” – This line is a picturesque description of autumn and its harvest season. The use of “orchard and ladders” brings to mind the imagery of trees, ripe fruit, and the act of picking.

  • “I ain’t livin’ in the dark no more / It’s not a promise, I’m just gonna call it” – This part of the song alludes to the idea of finding hope and positivity even in the midst of pain and sadness. The speaker is determined to move on and not dwell in darkness anymore, but instead to seize the present moment and make the most of it.

Key Takeaways

Here are some key takeaways from the song’s lyrics:

  • “Beth/Rest” is a song about finding beauty and hope in sadness and pain.
  • The lyrics allude to the idea of liberation and release from emotional baggage.
  • The imagery in the song is vivid and evocative, painting pictures of death and decay as well as the beauty of autumn and harvest season.
  • Overall, the song is a poignant reflection on life’s ups and downs, and the power of hope and resilience in overcoming adversity.

In conclusion, “Beth/Rest” is a beautiful, moving piece of music that has resonated with countless listeners over the years. Its lyrics are both poetic and profound, offering a message of hope and resilience that speaks to the human experience.

Justin Vernon’s Impact on Calgary’s Music Scene

Justin Vernon, the founder of indie folk band Bon Iver, is a pioneering musician with an impressive following in Calgary and across the world. Here are some key points to consider about his influence on Calgary’s music scene:

His Musical Genius

  • Justin Vernon’s unique sound, characterized by haunting melodies and cryptic lyrics, has earned him a devoted fanbase in the city of Calgary and beyond.
  • He has been celebrated for his innovative use of vocal harmonies, experimental instrumentation and lyricism that speaks to the human experience.
  • His music has been described as soul-searching and cathartic, and the raw emotion he puts into every song resonates with many of his fans.

Concerts in Calgary

  • Justin Vernon and Bon Iver have performed in Calgary several times over the years, each time delighting audiences with their mesmerizing live performances.
  • Fans of all ages come to see the band and experience the unique atmosphere and sound of their music.
  • Concertgoers have described the experience of seeing Bon Iver live as “magical” and “transformative,” which speaks to the band’s ability to connect with their audience in a deep and meaningful way.


  • Justin Vernon has collaborated with a number of Canadian musicians, including Feist, Gord Downie and The National.
  • These collaborations have helped to bring attention to Calgary’s burgeoning music scene, highlighting the city’s capacity for dynamic and engaging collaborations across genres and styles.
  • The result has been a rich musical landscape that attracts talented artists and musicians from around the world, all eager to immerse themselves in Calgary’s vibrant music scene.

Inspiration for Local Artists

  • Justin Vernon has served as a source of inspiration for many local artists in Calgary and beyond, encouraging them to explore new sounds and genres and to push boundaries with their own music.
  • His commitment to creating music that is both profound and accessible has inspired a new generation of musicians to follow in his footsteps, adding their voices to the rich tapestry of Calgary’s music scene.
  • His work has produced a ripple effect throughout the city and beyond, encouraging others to take risks, try new things and connect with their audiences in meaningful ways.

In conclusion, Justin Vernon and his band Bon Iver have made a significant mark on Calgary’s music scene, inspiring local artists and captivating concertgoers with their unique sound and captivating live performances. As Calgary continues to grow and evolve, the legacy of Vernon’s musical impact on the city is sure to endure for years to come.

Bon Iver Calgary Meaning

Bon Iver’s enrapturing music is emotional and raw, and their song ‘Calgary’ is no exception. The lyrics are introspective, and the meaning behind them may be a little unclear at first. Here’s a closer look at what the song ‘Calgary’ by Bon Iver means:

The Inspiration Behind the Song

The song ‘Calgary’ was reportedly inspired by the city of Calgary, Alberta, in Canada. Bon Iver’s frontman, Justin Vernon, spent some time living there, and the emotions he experienced during that time inspired the lyrics.

The Meaning of the Lyrics

The lyrics suggest that the narrator is struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Here are some key takeaways from the song:

  • The city of Calgary is used as a metaphor for a place that is both captivating and desolate.
  • The narrator yearns for a connection with someone else, but feels unable to connect with those around them.
  • The repetition of the phrase “Don’t you cherish me to sleep” suggests a fear of abandonment and a desire for comfort and security.

Interpreting the Song

Of course, music is open to interpretation, and the meaning of ‘Calgary’ can vary depending on who you ask. However, some possible interpretations of the song include:

  • The song is about mental health struggles and the feeling of being alone in a crowded world.
  • The narrator is reflecting on a past relationship that ended badly, and they are struggling to move on.
  • The song is a commentary on the pressures of modern society and how they can contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

‘Calgary’ is a beautiful and haunting song that resonates with many people. While the exact meaning of the lyrics may be open to interpretation, the song speaks to universal emotions of loneliness, isolation, and the desire for connection and comfort.

Speyside Lyrics by Bon Iver

As a fan of Bon Iver’s music, you may have come across one of their lesser-known tracks, “Speyside.” This song is known for its hauntingly beautiful lyrics and minimalistic, acoustic instrumentation. If you’re interested in learning more about the lyrics and meaning of this song, read on:

The Background of Speyside

“Speyside” is a song that appears on Bon Iver’s second studio album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver,” which was released in 2011. It is named after a region in Scotland, known for its whisky distilleries and scenic beauty. The song has a slow, melancholic melody that sets the tone for its reflective lyrics.

Understanding the Lyrics of Speyside

The lyrics of “Speyside” are open to interpretation, but they seem to be primarily about the passage of time and the inevitability of change. Here are some key takeaways from the song:

  • The opening lines, “So seldom I / Observe these customs / And show my appease / And bow my head,” suggest a feeling of detachment and isolation.

  • The chorus, “Just haven’t known your face no more / And I haven’t touched what I felt / No more love, no more losing / If I hadn’t known such riches, I could live with being poor,” seems to be about letting go of the past and accepting change, even if it means losing something precious.

  • The second verse, “Full of that good and remorse / Throw down at the light of the lord / In good time with the rest of our earth,” is more difficult to decipher. It may refer to a sense of regret or guilt, and an attempt to find redemption.

Speyside in Live Performances

Bon Iver’s live performances of “Speyside” are known for their intimacy and raw emotion. The band often performs the song with just an acoustic guitar and Justin Vernon’s haunting vocals. It’s a powerful, poignant moment in their concerts that always leaves a lasting impression.

“Speyside” may not be as well-known as other Bon Iver songs, but it is a poignant and beautiful piece of music that is worth exploring. Its lyrics are open to interpretation, but they seem to be about letting go of the past and accepting change. If you’re a fan of Bon Iver’s music, you won’t regret giving “Speyside” a listen.