The collaboration “I Need a Forest Fire” by James Blake and Bon Iver opens calmly, with a sustained note that plays quietly in the background as wispy melody fluctuates around it. It is a dreamy sound, one at odds with the title and the true meaning of the song.
As the drums come in, James Blake admits “To burn it like cedar, I need a forest fire.” , a verse that is repeated throughout the entirety of the song and represents the burning or cleansing that he believes his relationship needs.
This collaboration is notable because of the honesty that is carried throughout it. From the opening, James Blake is pleading with nature to give him a forest fire, a way to burn down everything that has built up around his relationship and made it weaker than what it should be, so that he and his lover may be able to start again.
Bon Iver is not shy in saying that his lover is “thicker than [he] thinks”, or harder to get through, but he still believes that they can burn down what has been built up around them and start over.
The production nor the repetitive lyrics of “I Need a Forest Fire” alone are noteworthy in this song. However together, it works to create a dream-like scene where two lovers realize they need to begin again.
You can listen to the song here.