Bon Iver’s New Self Titled Album
After listening to Bon Iver’s first album, For Emma, Forever Ago, I thought that Justin Vernon, the genius behind the band, should not put out another album because it would never compare. With tracks like ‘Lump Sum,’ ‘re:Stacks,’ and ‘Blindsided,’ I had never heard such beautiful music before.
I quickly became obsessed with Bon Iver. Not only his music, but also who Vernon is as a person. I found out he self recorded the album in his father’s cabin after he had spent a few months in the hospital with liver cancer. While sick in bed he watched episodes of Northern Exposure. One episode, the residents greeted each other with a ‘bon hiver,’ meaning ‘good winter.’ Vernon took this phrase and altered it. The two words, ‘Bon Iver,’ have changed folk music today. Justin Vernon is one laid back guy, there’s no denying that, but the time and effort he puts into his music shows in every song, and in every note.
When I had heard there would be a new Bon Iver album coming out on June 21st, 2001, three years after his first album, I was worried that I would be let down. I thought about how comfortable I got with For Emma, Forever Ago, and I didn’t want the new album to ruin all I had come to know and love of Bon Iver.
When the first single, Calgary, was released I listened to it multiple times. It’s synths, simple percussion, and his well-known multi-layered, high-pitched voice rung out beautifully in this track. I laughed at myself, knowing my disinterest in the self-titled album might’ve been a defense mechanism. It was my way of not having to count down the seconds until it finally came out. After I heard this track the countdown started.
The album turned out to be even better then the first one. ‘Holocene’ would have to be my favorite, because it strikes a resemblance to ‘Hazleton’ and ‘Liner,” two tracks released under his name, Justin Vernon. Within the first few seconds of the song you will get lost. The guitar is recorded with some magical software I have yet to discover, which produces music that will make you feel like you are outside at night, laying in a big open field, watching the stars. With ‘Beth/Rest,’ the last track on the album, Vernon has built a time machine that will take you back to the 1980s, to a time where Phil Collins made soft, piano rock mean something to people. ‘Wash’ is a simple, slightly-out-of-tune piano song that resembles raindrops outside your window as the wind blows through. The rest of the album is just as incredible, with tracks like ‘Minnesota, WI’ and ‘Hinnom, TX,’ places that Vernon has traveled to, will bring you to new places you have never been to before.
The world knows of Bon Iver, from the Myspace Transmission studio in Beverly Hills to the La Blogotheque podcast in Paris. The only problem is that not everyone knows him. The world will be a much better place if we all listened to Bon Iver. They should make a bumper sticker of that.