“Hi, it’s really hard to accept this award. But, well, there’s so much talent out here on this stage, and there’s so much talent that’s not here tonight, and it’s also hard to accept because when I started to make songs I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here. But with that discomfort, I do have a sense of gratitude and I want to say thank you to all the nominees and all the non-nominees that have never been here and will never be here, all the bands I toured with, all the bands that inspired me, all the artists. I also want to say thank you to all the voters: Sweet. Sweet hookup. All my bandmates old and new, the city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, JAGJAGUWAR, my label, for having transparency and friendship, my friends and family, Kitty, and most of all my parents, thank you guys.” – Bon Iver at the 2012 Grammy Awards.
Was Bon Iver’s Grammy acceptance speech for Best New Arist humble, meaningful, or subtly disrespectful? It’s hard to decipher the ambiguity of his speech, and even harder to understand the tone. Was he representing the hipster elite by seemingly bashing the Grammys for not recognizing his other indie counterparts? Distancing himself from “manufactured” pop music? Or, did Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon simply acknowledge his humble musical roots?
Perhaps he should accept the “sweet hookup” for what it is: recognition for the hard work and passion he has imprinted into his music. It’s nothing to be uncomfortable about. If willingly collaborating with Kanye West in 2010 didn’t result in a total loss of hipster street cred, happily accepting a Grammy won’t either.
photos courtesy of GETTY