A big step down, lacking inspiration, authenticity, and staying power.
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.
I don’t see the draw. Over produced garbage. Not even well done garbage. Probably decent songs in there somewhere
After listening to this album a few times through now, I’d say it’s really grown on me. There are some really compelling and beautiful moments. I feel it’s quite underrated.
This is a hard listen, especially when you have past works to compare it too. The whole genre shift has officially hit the wall and needs to go back to the beginning so bad.
Great songs buried under production
By Arnold Diaz
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!
more fire from Bon Iver... let this album melt into your soul and see what purges itself out.
Just give it a second or third listen
Sometimes artists are so good it takes the listener a few times through to realize just how amazing the content is. This album is different, but give it time- you will love it.
Pure, unbridled genius.
Unique. Shattering. All I need to live.
Ignore the bad reviews.
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 have listened to this entire album in loop for days I can’t get enough