Review: Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

I wanted to wait a while to let it sink in, and to not let the hype sort of cloud my judgement.  So here we go…

If you’re a (semi) regular on this blog, then you probably know something about Bon Iver, so I will spare everyone the Kanye connection and talking too much about For Emma, Forever Ago.  You should be up on this by now.  With all that said and unsaid, Justin Vernon is on the edge of greatness.  It’s not hyperbole, because this album makes that statement plausible (or fact, if you’re an Iver fanboy/girl.)

Sometimes, you have to dig into an album to find out what it is.  Not Bon Iver.  You understand from “Perth”…and it continues on from there, as something of a builder.  The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s a turn toward (1) a larger, ensemble sound, and (2) a sound supported by electricity.  It swells and emplies out with large, amplified horns and strings.  It retains some folky tendencies in the individual song builds, but it’s not long before instruments slowly make their way in.  Collectively, the album has a certain depth that grows, like you’re dreaming about walking into the ocean, at night, wading out into nothing (and everything).  And the lyrics are….I honestly got emo with a few of the tracks.  He is an A+ level songwriter.

Now for the bad part, if you can call it that.  It’s a little uneven toward the end.  There is a clear Roger Hornsby thing happening, which I like.  Don’t get me wrong.  But it sort of seemed out of place for some reason, like they belonged on a new album, with it’s own theme.  I think that’s nitpicking though – because the songs are still strong, and grounded emotionally with the rest of the album.

Grade: A-.  I’m feel like saying more….but I think the grade should be enough.  Outstanding.  Worthy of your coin.

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