The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, who collaborate under the name Big Red Machine, covered Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up” as part of the Eaux Claires Festival voting initiative “For Wisconsin.”
Dessner fronts the studio take, full of electronic drums, brass, harmonies, layered guitars and Vernon’s prominent backing vocals. “It’s not what you thought when you first began it,” he sings. “You got what you want; now you can hardly stand it, though.”
The track also features guest contributors Mina Tindle, Jon Low, trombonist Ben Lanz and fellow National members Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf and Scott Devendorf.
Big Red Machine paired the song with a video featuring aerial views of Wisconsin. In a statement accompanying the clip, Dessner described “Wise Up” as one of his “very favorite Aimee Mann songs” and called their cover a tribute to the “beautiful” state.
“[Mann’s] lyrics keep coming into my brain these days,” he continued. “The stakes couldn’t be any higher in this election and it may come down to a handful of votes. Text 56005 to VOTE. Thanks so much to Ben, Bryan, Bryce, Mina, Jon, Scott and Justin for joining me.”
Vernon recently participated in other installments of the “For Wisconsin” series, playing a new Big Red Machine song (“Latterdays”) and debuting a Bon Iver cut to salute late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (“Your Honor”). Other prominent indie artists have taken part in the project: Arcade Fire performed a sparse take on The Suburbs bonus track “Culture War,” and Feist covered Cat Stevens’ “Trouble.”