Bon Iver’s new album 22, A Million is not what we’ve come to expect from lead Justin Vernon. It sounds as if he’s beaten his way through the stark wintery exterior that surrounded him through his previous releases with a rusty mallet, and then recorded the process. But in typical Bon Iver flair, it’s beautiful.
Released yesterday, the album’s the first line is, “This might be over soon,” and that’s exactly what happens. This album ends far too soon— it’s almost a warning straight from the sources mouth.
22, A Million moves away from the band’s earlier guitar orientated music, but the new direction only heightens the glory of Bon Iver’s catalogue. Vernon previously stated about the album,
“For this one, there’s still some dark stuff and whatever, but I think cracking things, making things that are bombastic and exciting and also new, and mashing things together, and explosiveness and shouting more, I think that was the zone. I think shouting. Whispering was maybe the thing before.”
22, A Million has been equated to a cremation of two decades worth of searching for understanding, while being content with the reality that it might not ever be found.
The music is often shrouded in vocal filters, electronic glitches along with the duality of whispering dynamics and colossal drums—each song vastly different from the next. 715 – CRΣΣKS has Vernon singing acapella through a vocoder, while 00000 Million, is a light piano confessional where he reveals the many guises he’s adopted to try be someone, with lines like “Must’ve been forces, that took me on them wild courses / Who knows how many poses, that I’ve been in”.
Not only are the songs breaking new grounds, but so are the song titles. Have fun saying 22(OVER S∞∞N), 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠, 33 “GOD” aloud to your friends.
And for those who missed Bon Iver during his one night only performance at Sydney Opera House during Vivid or who wish to relive the experience, a few professional videos have been uploaded here that may appease your Bon Iver yearnings.
Now go listen to this masterpiece, but be prepared to dance ’til you perspire in one song, belt out your best (but probably awkward) falsetto in another, only to finish the album staring at the wall in utter content while the last song’s chord loops in your head and you put off that essay or household chore for another hour and a half because you play it through three more times.