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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. Even though Vernon had a few other people playing on the album, it was easy to imagine a solitary broken soul spilling his guts onto tape for hours at a time while the world went on without him. It’s was a truly aching, somewhat claustrophobic sound that was beautiful and unique. After a couple years in which his life was basically 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 and restraint to remind you why Bon Iver is worth caring about. 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," the simple and affecting "Michicant" — these have hints of the grace and understated emotion that made For Emma what it was.

Customer Reviews


Consistently amazing, like all of Bon Iver's works. Beautiful, drawn out melodies intertwine with soft voices in almost an angelic fashion. There is something so special, ineffable, about Bon Iver. Amazing. Words cannot do it justice.

My favorite album ever made.

If someone were to ask me, "What's your favorite album as a whole?", I would say 'Bon Iver, Bon Iver'. The writing of these songs in the order that they're put together is the greatest piece of art I've ever given my ears the pleasure of listening. This man understands the deepest aspect of pain and ecstasy in life. Thank you, Justin Vernon. You, sir, are a genius. Thank you. Thank you.

One of my favorite albums

This album is everything one could ask for. The ambient feel with sweeping delays and echoing reverb makes for a truly incredible experience


Formed: 2007 in Eau Claire, WI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Appearing seemingly out of nowhere, Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, became one of the landmark albums of the late-2000s indie folk sound. Singer/songwriter Justin Vernon's spare sound and pure vocals caught the attention of people looking for something folky, yet not folksy in any way. Further albums refining and shifting their sound bolstered the band's popularity and widened their fan base, earning them a famous fan (and future collaborator) in Kanye West. Justin Vernon began recording...
Full Bio