Track of the Day: 'Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)' by Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

This entry from reader Ivey Glendon on Father’s Day is really poignant, especially for those who have complicated relationships with their dads:

I saw your call for transformative cover songs and wanted to add this one for your consideration: “Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)” by John Prine. It’s Father’s Day weekend, so I’m thinking about my father—a John Prine superfan who counts that song among his favorites. The original recording is a standard folk/country affair, juxtaposing a love story against a true and terrible tragedy. I’m a big fan of covers by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver [embedded above], whose indie, haunting version contextualizes the loss in the song, and by Todd Snider, whose stripped-down version recalls more of the romance (so it seems to me).

In any case, they all nail the chorus:

For a heart stained in anger grows weak and grows bitter
You become your own prisoner as you watch yourself sit there
Wrapped up in a trap of your very own chain of sorrow

It’s pretty much excellent advice for transcending the tough times, no matter the genre.

(Track of the Day archive here. Earlier archive here. Submit via hello@.)