22 (Over Soon)

Album: 22, A Million (2016)
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Songfacts®:

  • The opening track of 22, A Million, this was inspired in part by Bon Iver mainman Justin Vernon's unsuccessful attempt to find himself during a vacation. He explained during a press conference in Eau Claire, Wisconsin that he had taken a solo trip to an island off the coast of Greece in 2015. "Don't go to the Greek islands off season by yourself," Vernon said. "Trying to find myself and I did not. I felt really poor. And I just heard this chorus in my head: 'This feeling might be over soon'. That ended up turning into the opening line of the album's first song, '22 (OVER S00 00N).'"
  • This was premiered at Justin Vernon's Eaux Claires Music Festival on August 13, 2016.
  • Vernon heard the line, "It might be over soon" as a kind of mantra that could suggest relief, loss, mortality or a reason to get to work. "The bad stuff might be over soon, but maybe the good stuff might be over soon," he explained to The New York Times. "So you'd better figure out how to enjoy this life and participate in it."
  • Each song title on 22, a Million begins with a number that holds a private significance for Justin Vernon. While growing up and playing sports, he chose 22 as his jersey number; he also sets wake-up alarms to 22 minutes after the hour. Vernon explained that as he chopped up the phrase "It might be over soon" in the sampler, "soon" began to turn into "two, two": 22.
  • This contains a sample of gospel legend Mahalia Jackson's live recording of "How I Got Over." Vernon told Uncut:

    "If there's anybody who's ever sung for all of humanity, it's her. I couldn't have sung that. I had to have that piece of music in there. It just made me happy."
  • When Justin Vernon performed the song on the September 24, 2020 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he transformed it into a voter registration anthem. We see yellow text appear over the Bon Iver mainman's face, telling viewers: "Wisconsin, register to vote online or by mail by Wednesday October 14, 2020."

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