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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

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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