What does Woods mean?

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Bon Iver: Woods Meaning


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Woods Lyrics

I'm up in the woods, I'm down on my mind
I'm building a sill to slow down the time
I'm up in the woods, I'm down on my mind
I'm building a sill to slow down the time

I'm up in the woods, I'm down on my mind
I'm building a sill to slow down the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 21st 2011 report

    (Please ignore the tense switches in this commentary)

    I think Bon Iver makes strong commentary about isolation by suggesting that isolation is key to be able to reflect and appreciate what is in one's mind.

    First, I think that the woods help to amplify how Iver feels about his mind.

    The beginning of this song presents the central conflict which is the fact that Bon Iver is going in two opposite directions which threaten to tear him in half. Up in the woods, and down on his mind. Thinking of the word "woods" by itself isn't necessarily a positive term. In scary movies, woods are often used to increase tension, and anxiety. In other movies, they represent mysterious places, and the place where a bunch of really creepy stuff happens. Also, woods are generally very large and easy to get lost in, which would make being "up in the woods" a scary experience. Especially if one does not have the mental clarity to remember where he/she has been been and where one is going. Furthermore, what's probably more frightening to him is the fact that he is alone. In the beginning of the song, the first stanza has one voice suggesting that all of this drama is encapsulated within himself. So it seems to me, at least in the first couple seconds of this song, Bon Iver is fighting the fact that he is going in a scary place, alone, by building this still.

    Almost surprisingly, in the beginning of the second stanza, another voice on a higher pitch comes in with Bon Iver,suggesting that Bon Iver is not alone! Also, the second voice has become the new melody, and the first voice plays a supporting role. At that point, the system of support starts building itself. Admitedly, its a little bit timid at first because there are only two voices in the mix, but an extraordinary thing is happening. Variation and range exploration. Not only does the pitch range increase as the song progresses, so does the bass. What this suggests is that Bon Iver's isolation was very hard to overcome because of its woods-like vastness; because of the other voices present he was able to begin to explore the ranges of his surroundings. The more and more he did this, more and more voices came in to support. These supporting voices create a smooth and beautiful path from the bottom of the range to the top where Bon Iver goes to high un imaginable places. Imagine the second half of the song without the lower end voices. It would sound very bare. And it would fall flat of its current beauty. Just the same would happen if someone tried to go out and explore the woods without any help. But with all this fullness of sound and beauty, the woods become less and less frightening, but more inspiring. The voices come together in perfect harmony as to suggest a comfort and cohesion. All of this leads to the climax of the perfect sureal environment of being suspended in the air above the woods. Finally Iver sees the full picture because he has been allowed to walk the path from the floor of the woods to the top and realize the woods are beutiful. Now he wants to slow down the time not because he's scared of going into the deep, but because he wants to remember where he has been, in the form of the perfect still life picture. And this is supported by the multiple times he repeats his four line song.

    The remaining great irony left in this song is that Bon Iver was never really isolated. He was "isolated" in the fact that he is the only one in the woods, but ironically, all the other supporting voices are himself!Bon Iver becomes his own support system in this way. The fact that he layers in more of himself testifies to the idea that he had to put in all of himself into what he was doing to truly make something beautiful! No one else could be in the woods with him. That would have changed the end result. It had to be him and only him in his woods-like mind, alone.

    Bon Iver was in the woods of his mind and realized that only he, in his isolation, could be able to realize the beautiful condition of it.

  2. anonymous
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    Oct 14th 2014 report

    To clear up what that dingus said earlier, bon iver is the name of the band, not the lead singer...

  3. anonymous
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    Aug 26th 2013 report

    At first he is alone, lost, not in a great place personally. He decides to revert to alcohol to deal with his problems and slowly realizes as each voice joins in, he is not alone in the world.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 27th 2011 report

    One thing I am certain of is "buildind a still" is used in a literal sense . "Still" referring to a distiller , a device used to make moonshine whiskey .

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 9th 2011 report

    I think it refers to wanting to disappear from life (to the woods for example) to somewhere peaceful, at a point when life feels unbearable, out of control, one has realised our mortality (to slow down the time). A desire to have a way to escape our own mind (building a still). That kind of thing, maybe.

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 20th 2011 report

    "I'm up in the woods"
    Woods - could mean life
    means that everything is going well in life
    I'm up in life?
    or maybe even he means it litterally..

    but the first interpretation
    could contradict the second
    I'm down on my mind
    or it could go well with it
    or he could be telling a story
    I'm gonna go with "it goes well together"
    as in
    everything is going well
    he cant seem to enjoy it
    maybe it's going too fast?
    which is why
    he then says "I'm building a still, to slow down time"
    which could also mean what it says
    or it could have a metaphorical meaning

    very deep
    its difficult

    This is just what I think
    I could stand Corrected

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