Bon Iver – Bon Iver

by Alyssa Mastrocco (English), published June 16th 2011

Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!

Bon Iver’s self-titled release doesn’t sound much like 2008′s For Emma, Forever Ago and I’m glad. To try to replicate an album like that, which stems from such emotional trauma, would be forced and listeners would know it. Thankfully, Justin Vernon must have known that.

We still get the falsetto that would sound silly anywhere else, the acoustic guitar and the subtle, driving bass drum. Here, they’re paired with more prominent drums, horns, synth effects ‘€“ including one that sounds like a bicycle bell and another that sounds like the Green line coming into Boylston Station – and a general upbeat tone. It still somehow makes me want to curl into a corner and bawl forever. Maybe that’s the intended effect.

In fact, I’m crying as I listen to the album and write my review.

Wait, no. I’m not crying, why would I be crying? That’s so silly that you think I’d be actually crying. Moving on.

Depending on whether you’re for or against the different sound of this new album, it gets better or worse as you go along. The first two songs are strong, and they get better the deeper into the album you get. The strongest section of the album, in my opinion, begins with ‘€œMichicant’€ and continues through ‘€œCalgary’€, which was the first officially released track a few weeks ago. ‘€œMichicant’€ is the most reminiscent of For Emma, Forever Ago - that is to say the most tender, the track that shows the most vulnerability. ‘€œBeth/Rest’€ is the most contrastive, using autotune, heavy synths and a screaming electric guitar.

That’s not to say that ‘€œLisbon, OH’€ and ‘€œBeth/Rest’€ or the first few tracks aren’t good. They work well as an introduction and exit for the inbetween tracks. ‘€œLisbon, OH’€ sounds sort of eighties, but not in a cheesy hair metal kind of way. The main synth track sounds like something you’d hear in a Whitney Houston (back before the crack) ballad. As a lady with a heart, I tell you that’s a good quality.

This is the kind of album you can listen to on a loop and just sort of lose track of time with. Just don’t get too lost.

Recommended tracks: Michicant, Wash.

2 Responses to “Bon Iver – Bon Iver”

  1. Colin says:

    Have you heard the single and cover “I Can’t Make You Love Me”? It’s so devastating but incredibly good.  Great performance of it on Jimmy Fallon, too. 

  2. Colin says:

    Have you heard the single and cover “I Can’t Make You Love Me”? It’s so devastating but incredibly good.  Great performance of it on Jimmy Fallon, too.