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Bon Iver

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Album Review

Part of the beauty of Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, was the intimate, backwoods feel of the recording and the simplicity of Justin Vernon's soaring, open wound of a voice with only minimal musical backing to distract from its impact. After a couple years in which his life was turned upside down thanks to the success of For Emma, Vernon’s second album is quite different. Where For Emma was stripped down and intimate, Bon Iver is packed with guest musicians, horn sections, strings, and extra vocalists. Within the expanded arrangements, there are still moments of tender beauty: the relatively restrained "Wash.," which pits Vernon’s aching vocal orchestra against a jagged, repeating piano line (and only minimal strings and pedal steel); the first two-thirds of "Holocene," and the simple and affecting "Michicant."

Customer Reviews

Beautiful album

To say I was anticipating this album would be an understatement! "Bon Iver" is a must-listen for the year. This self titled album see's Bon Iver exploring all sorts of new sounds while still maintaining the same hauntingly beautiful vocals. "Calgary" is an exceptional single that is sure to be a favorite on the album. " Holocene" and "Wash." are both stand out tracks for very different reasons. Once again we are exposed to Justin vernon's wide vocal range. From the eerily high notes in his "soprano" range to the soothing sounds of his "baritone", Bon Iver is perfection.

Why is this popular?

It all sounds the same and most of it sounds like it belongs in an upscale car commercial. I heard so many people rave about this album that I had to look it up. Coincidentally, I just heard Justin Vernon interviewed on the radio tonight and even he doesn't seem to know what his music is about. He gave not one straight answer about where it comes from or what he's trying to offer with it. Seems to me he has no conviction whatsoever. An artist who doesn't have a message isn't really an artist, he's just a craftsman. Yes, this music is pretty and abstract but is that all it's supposed to be? People who enjoy this kind of noodling want music that doesn't distract them from their own thoughts, their own inner movie. Not for me.

Beautifully Haunting

His albums are stories. You can listen to it back to front without feeling a gap. This record is just as perfect as his first. Take a night drive and hit play.


Formed: 2007 in Eau Claire, WI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Justin Vernon began recording under the nom de band Bon Iver following the breakup of DeYarmond Edison, an indie folk group similar in tone and manner to Iron & Wine, Little Wings, and -- to a certain extent -- Bonnie "Prince" Billy. Vernon's solo project took DeYarmond Edison's introspective, folky sound and embellished it with squinchy, quirky orchestral touches that nodded to Sparklehorse and the drifty optimism of the Flaming Lips. Vernon moved back to Wisconsin the winter following DeYarmond's...
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