Bon Iver’s song, “22 (Over Soon)“, marks the first song in his 2016 album 22, A Million. This specific album is a complete journey of songs that encapsulate Bon Iver’s own journey in life. With many references to God and Biblical imagery, Bon Iver takes the listener to a tumultuous state in his life with the first song of “22 (Over Soon)”, and ends the album with songs that show his newfound direction in life.
“22 (Over Soon)” is about Bon Iver searching for a direction to take in his life. The first couple of lyrics show his confusion with life, and his realization that nothing lasts forever.
It might be over soon
Where you gonna look for confirmation?
Clearly, Bon Iver is struggling with some kind of decision he has to make before his life is over, or before a huge change occurs in his life. With his repetition of the word “soon” he evokes a sense of urgency, and need to find his path in life. His confusion with direction is directly seen with Bon Iver not knowing where to go for “confirmation”.
It can be inferred that this song is about Bon Iver overcoming his depression as well due to the bright aspects some of his lyrics show. We see in the second verse Bon Iver makes a biblical connection to the Garden of Eden when he says
There isn't ceiling in our garden
In the Bible, the Garden of Eden represents the intimacy God and humanity held with one another. For the first time in history the relationship between God and humanity was perfect. Therefore, by Bon Iver depicting that there was not a ceiling in the garden, he is referring to the serendipitous relationship between Heaven and Earth, unencumbered by a “ceiling”. All in all, with Bon Iver’s use of Biblical imagery, he is able to illustrate the perfection and unity in his life.
However, there is also a dark tone to the song because of the repetition of “over soon” he implicates the idea that his happiness may be over soon as well. With his last two lines, this darkness and depression is clearly seen.
Within a rise there lies a scission
(It might be over soon)
Here Bon Iver uses a metaphorical phrase to show that even in one’s happiest of times, nothing lasts forever. Bon Iver is saying that acquiring his fame may not have been all that great because any great “rise” is inevitably tied to an inverse “scission”.
Bon Iver’s “22 (Over Soon)” is a multilayered song which refer’s to the quintessential theme of life that in order to find true happiness, one must experience true sadness as well, and that anything, may be over soon.