Corbin Slouches Towards The North Woods With 'Hunker Down' The languid, Minnesota-based singer has always fixated on the forest — here, the artist formerly known as Spooky Black dives deep into it.
NPR logo Songs We Love: Corbin, 'Hunker Down'

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Songs We Love: Corbin, 'Hunker Down'

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Since the beginning, Corbin — formerly known as Spooky Black — has, in his languid and gurgling and romance-afflicted music, foregrounded the landscapes of his home state, Minnesota. Flicking through the search results of his early videos, there's always a forest visible.

With "Hunker Down," the forest is not only present, but central. Corbin is heading up north, to "where 61 touches the waterline," referencing the highway that traces Minnesota's arrowhead, along the western edge of Lake Superior. The woods are an escape, and it can be a crushing one. "We're too deep in the green and spruce," he sings, spending time watching cabin-films on VHS and a s***** little television.

In his now-three-year-old breakout song and video, "Without You," Corbin sang pretty, his voice like a tumbled agate. These days, those soft contours still round out the bookends of his phrases, but between them a more volcanic beast rears. The change is both physio- and psychological; getting grown necessitates the hewing of our lumber, inside and out. But the maturity has, much like King Krule, given Corbin a promising confidence in his artistic powers. Unlike Krule, however, Corbin never seemed to need a humbling of his place in the world.