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Song Stories

“Holocene”

Bon Iver | 2011

The keystone track on Bon Iver’s second album is named after two things: a bar that songwriter Justin Vernon patronized in Portland, Oregon, where he once had a particularly rough night over some pints, and the post–Ice Age geologic era, or an epoch, which began 12,000 years ago. “It's a good example of how all the songs are meant to come together as this idea that places are times and places are people,” Vernon said. “Our lives feel like these epochs, but really we are dust in the wind.” The song was nominated for a Grammy in 2012, and Bon Iver won Best New Artist the same year.

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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