Bon Iver – 22, A Million

I’ll keep in a cave your comfort and all unburdened and becoming.

9. 30. 16

I don’t know why, but I struggle listening to a band/artist thoroughly for the first time if what I’m listening to is not a very recent record. In no way am I trying to justify this, nor can I explain why I am like this, but it is just the way I am. I want to know what they are like now far more than I want to know their past. This is why I have not listened straight through For Emma, Forever Ago. This is also why I have only grazed over Bon Iver’s self-titled from 2011. I know. Huge mistake on my part. For Emma is a classic. I get it. My fiancé who is far less of a music lover than I am is far more experienced in Bon Iver and the band’s brilliance. So in spite of this,  Bon Iver’s newly released record, 22, A Million (which may contain explicit lyrics) was my chance to become truly acquainted with them (or specifically Justin Vernon).

Despite my lack of knowledge, I can confidently say this record is a strong deviation from his past work. No longer embracing the raw, acoustic folk vibes, Vernon has released a record which stylistically is like nothing I have ever heard. From auto-tune to synth use and unique instrumentation, Bon Iver will most likely never be the same band it once was. Unfortunately, for those who fell in love with Bon Iver’s past work, this might be a stumbling block or something they are overwhelmingly opposed to. For myself holding no ties to Bon Iver at all, I find this record stretching and refreshing. Above all, I find it interesting. I am over ten listens in on the record and still trying to soak it all in.

I do want to touch briefly on the lyrics and the overall imagery. From the outside looking in, a song title like “666 ʇ” could scare off the religious folks in the room. I want to first state, it is very difficult to understand exactly what Vernon is addressing in each song specifically in the record, but one thing you can be confident of is it is nothing satanic or sketchy. Vernon is using these titles and imagery to promote the overall feelings of being drawn away from God based on his life and story, in no sense of worshipping satan or any crazy crap like that.

Some may hate the ambiguous lyrics. Others may feel overwhelmed with the style change. Others may hate the imagery and song titles. I, for one, love this record so far. It is different. It is refreshing. And it is not quite as weird or random as you most likely think it is.

5-stars

Favorite Songs: 33 “GOD”, 29 #Strafford APTS, 666 ʇ, 8 (circle)
Top 10 Potential: Yes.
Album Cover: 9.5/10

Album Artwork: http://pitchfork-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/content/JV1.jpg

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