Bon Iver’s first album, For Emma, Forever Ago, was a sort of musical anesthetic. Like so much single-malt whisky, it soothed the discontent of all of those exhausted lumberjacks, forest rangers, and grizzly bears deep in the forests of Williamsburg, the Mission, and Silverlake back in 2007. Since then (in spite of a mediocre follow-up album), all of America has become Justin Vernon’s play-forest: Kanye collaborations and critical praise have rained down from on high. Saturday’s episode of SNL got on the bandwagon predictably late, using Justin Timberlake to spoof everyone's favorite hushed, cabin-camping troubadour with a creepily perfect impression.
The musicians spoofed on SNL are usually more of the teeny-bopper ilk — the kind of musicians whose music parents fear their fourth-graders will choreograph a suggestive talent-show dance piece to. Note, for example, how others covered in this SNL sketch include Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. It's a little unsettling that Vernon should make it onto this list of spoofable singers, but that's another example of indie's rise into the mainstream.
The nice thing about Vernon's celebrity is that it lies neither in his booty nor in his ability to perform elaborate dance scenes. That said, I am currently trying to get the second half of For Emma classified as an Ambien substitute. It's low-cost and non-habit forming.