℗ 2019 Jagjaguwar
The music from this band is different and intriguing. The more I play their songs the more I like them. This album is really good but should be played a few times to get the full effect of their creativeness. 5 Stars
I have almost all of Justin Vernon’s music, not just Bon Iver, and I appreciate his musical talent and occasional transcendence. As for the specific canon of Bon Iver, I have to say this was a bit of a disappointment. It is as though 22 and For Emma had a baby and it’s a real disappointment to the family name. It doesn’t have the same magic as the previous albums, and some of the songs come across as inauthentic— especially “Faith” once you have listened to “RABi” (which is actually the track on the album with the most staying power, next to Hey, Ma). It was actually a weak move that he released that track before the rest of the album, because RABi basically deposes the conclusions he reaches in Faith. Especially if you compare the music videos. There’s a dose of political gesturing as well (Man Like U) that no one asked for. The rest of the songs are either overproduced conglomerations of noise, or entirely forgettable. 22, BI, and For Emma were mostly strong albums from beginning to end. The same cannot be said about this album, as shown by the lack of reviews (positive or negative) compared to the previous album, and the fact that I only listen to about two songs on this album still after just three months! Meanwhile, tracks several years old from JV are still on rotation. The guy needs some inspiration beyond drugs and atheism. If you want some recent quality from JV, listen to Big Red Machine. I won’t be preordering BI anymore. If there is a next album, I will listen to each track on Spotify or YouTube before buying the album.
Admit it. You love the idea of Bon Iver, but rarely listen to more than four songs of any one album. Each new one seems so fresh and inviting, and the first couple of songs amaze you. Then… well, then it’s like the guy runs out of steam. Ultimately, you still appreciate his attempts, his sincerity, and his originality. But it’s the next album you’re sure will be the one he puts it all together. This one, for better and for worse, is another such example, and it’s easy to trace the problem this time. It’s production. From some of his live performances and his finest work (a two-person-and-piano AIR Studios recording), one can recognize his songwriting and vocals are top-notch. So why does he muddle it in so many unnecessary cute-and-or-annoying knob-turning and vocal-messing? The songs here are some of his best. If you can find them over the unnecessary beats and percussive elements and double-and-triple-tracked vocals, you will enjoy this album immensely. But it’s the next album that’s going to be the really good one!
Bon Iver’s “i,i” is an absolute breath of fresh air, and a welcome change from “22 A Million” which for me had too many electronic elements. This fourth album limits that but also brings in that sound the band has been known for. Not to stop there, Justin Vernon and co. tinker with new sounds and create some gorgeous soundscapes. Additionally, Vernon brings exemplary lyrical craft to every track. This Album is a must have.
I wasn’t totally sold on my first listen through. However, after listening the the album several times, I do enjoy it. Some songs are stuck in my head. Personally, I prefer his older albums, but I enjoy any Bon Iver I can get my hands on.
Justin Vernon’s best record yet. It feels like an amalgamation off all past Bon Iver works. The perfect blend of Emma and 22. Start to finish the tracks are winners, Faith being the all-timer. Easy 5 stars
Bon Iver continues to grow yet stays true to their original, unqiue sound. Their music has such a way of touching my soul in ways that no other music does. Fantastic use of brass and instumentals on this album, as well as Justin's raw voice shining like usual. Marion and Salem are fantastic, as well as Hey Ma and Faith. I can't get enough.
I previously purchased Hey Ma and U, but they’re not popping up on this album (since they were each previously released as single tracks in their own albums). I just wish I could at least listen to all 4 of the pre-release songs via my pre-purchased album. Also, I’ll be really annoyed if Hey Ma and U don’t get repopulated into the album once it’s actually released. Bug?