“Beth/Rest” may just be this year’s most polarizing song. The closer to Bon Iver‘s sophomore album, the 80’s style soft-rock lullaby both stunned and wowed listeners. In his review, our own Darcy Morgan loved the unorthodox style and commented on how only Justin Vernon could pull off such a risky song. Vernon himself has repeatedly defended the “cheesiness” of the song in interviews.
Now, a few months after the song’s initial release, Vernon has given us even more to talk about. In his session for NPR World Cafe, the singer-songwriter performed a highly stripped-down version of the song on a piano bench. That’s right — no saxophones, no solos, no cheesiness. Just a performance of “Beth/Rest” in its most basic form, including some deep, nearly spoken vocals in the intro.
You can listen to the song here, as well as performances of “Holocene” and 2009’s “Blood Baby”. You can also stream/download the MP3 below.