Bon Iver's Lyrics Find Their Way to "Hinnom, TX" Hell

Categories: DFW Music News
Gray swaths are covering North Texas today, which is pitch perfect weather to discuss Bon Iver developments. His new, self-titled sophomore album is dropping on June 21 (a single, "Calgary," is already making the rounds), and the first leg of a US tour has been announced. No stops in Texas yet, but that might change.

But this is interesting: Track six of Iver's upcoming release is called "Hinnom, TX," which forced us to break out the Google Maps.

Searching "Hinnom, TX" puts the pin smack in the middle of the Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (the full lyrics are after the jump). Odd.

So will Bon Iver be making a stop in Texas? Not sure. Since there seems to be no record of Hinnom, TX, searching just the word "Hinnom" reveals the following definition on the Bible Encyclopedia:
The meaning of "Hinnom" is unknown; the expressions ben Hinnom and bene Hinnom would suggest that it is a proper name; in Jeremiah 7:32; Jeremiah 19:6 it is altered by the prophet to "valley of slaughter," and therefore some have thought the original name must have had a pleasing meaning.
So, OK, maybe not a stop in Texas. No word either on whether or not Bon Iver thinks Texas is Hell. We'll keep you updated.

Hinnom, TX

(fall in
fall out
fall along)

in the first of light
past the Noachide
bodies wrapped in white

stranded every pain
baby, pasts are slain
"I got outta La Grange..."

in Hinnom

all this time
with your heart in mind
didn't you edit

in Hinnom

go, the least
and the precious feast
the in-vetted

sand it starts to steal
dirt and ice imbed in cheeks
in the potter's field

solar peace
well it swirls and sweeps
you just set it

strangers scattering
nether passage in the wind
off pennant tension ring

armor, down
on the wettest ground
not to vet it

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This synth-pop ballad finds Bon Iver leader Justin Vernon dreaming of a burial place for strangers near Jerusalem being relocated in the heart of Texas. He explained the story behind the song to UK newspaper The Sun: "When I was working on the lyrics I was coming up with these images of the desert. I had the idea of taking Hinnom, a place near Jerusalem where they have a cemetery for people who don't have names and plopping it into Texas. The song became an amalgamation of this idea and my experience of a Lucinda Williams song 'Fruits Of My Labor.' She sings this line, 'Cause I finally did it, baby, I got out of La Grange, go in my Mercury and drove out west.'

She's actually explaining the end of something, which is actually the beginning of her life. When Lucinda got into the Mercury and drove out west, she was burying the stranger inside her. It's a metaphor for a lot of stuff on the record."

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I understand were you're coming from, but I'm going to respectfully disagree. I think since the tune is positive he's not trying to say Texas is Hell, but actually use us as an example for all people. Texas could easily be considered hell because summers so directly resemble a furnace. But I really think he's trying to say that even through the hellish conditions of Texas there are still ways to have hope. He seems to be giving examples for every type of person; "the Naochide" for Jews and "Hinnom" itself because it's a seminary for Christians-two examples for religious people, "I got outta La Grange" for those who seem to have no hope, "in-vetted" for those who examine things-scientists and such, and "with your heart in mind/didn't you edit" for any person who feels lost or disconnected from the world. I think he's telling us that there is hope we just have to accept that it is there waiting for us when we are ready to let go of our past and move toward a brighter future. I think that is what he's trying to say in a way similar to a thesis in the first two stanzas, "in the first light past the Noachide bodies wrapped in white/stranded every pain baby, pasts are slain." And he is coming to Texas, twice, once in Dallas and then in Austin. Maybe he has hope for all the Texans who seem lost in the sweltering heat of the Texas summer.


Lol either this is a complete knock on TX or he's referencing it in a good light. I wish he'd come out to explain it. 

Obscure Reference
Obscure Reference

Perhaps, Hinnom, Texas, is really a nod to the great Josh T. Pearson and Lift To Experience's Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads.  The Hinnom Valley is the crossroads to Jerusalem being located on the western/southern edge of the city and the lowest point of Jerusalem.

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