Showing posts with label bon iver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bon iver. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

video review: 'i, i' by bon iver

Okay, here we go - this is one of those reviews I can imagine will be controversial... but eh, we'll see.

Next up is a really meaty episode of Billboard BREAKDOWN and then I'm venturing off on vacation - stay tuned!

Monday, August 12, 2019

album review: 'i, i' by bon iver

Alright, let's try this again.

So, Bon Iver, the primary venture for singer-songwriter-producer Justin Vernon and a rotating cast of players, and one of the critical darling acts that has never quite won me over. Don't get me wrong, for the most part I like this project, especially the more propulsive, windswept indie folk side that was instrumental in partially jumpstarting that movement in the late 2000s, but the more Bon Iver has ventured towards synthesized electronic music, the more I've been torn on them, respectful of the ambition but rarely satisfied with the results. I do think it's unfortunate that the first time I was talking about Bon Iver I was covering the project's worst album thus far by a considerable margin - that being 2016's 22, A Million, a project that wrapped itself in a lyrical tangle trying to parse the larger divisive world before scolding the audience for trying to understand it, along with some of the most scattershot, fragmented production yet - because I think it may have given off a more negative impression... but that doesn't mean I'm going to mince words here either. Hell, I was probably too nice to 22, A Million in retrospect.

And yet seemingly out of nowhere we had a new Bon Iver project, released three weeks early online and with Justin Vernon describing it as his most 'honest' and 'adult' album to date. What caught my attention was not only more producers allowed in the room, but also collaborators like James Blake and Aaron Dessner and even Bruce Hornsby - the latter shouldn't be that much of a surprise, given that he has worked with Vernon in the past, but still! And you know what, I really was hoping this would turn into something special, so what did Bon Iver deliver this time?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

video review: '22, a million' by bon iver

I'm surprised there hasn't been more blowback on this record yet. I get the feeling it's coming - this sort of thing tends to have a delayed fuse - but you never know...

Anyway, finally time to talk about Poets of the Fall, so stay tuned!

album review: '22, a milion' by bon iver

Here's something you probably don't know: until these past few weekends, I've never listened to a Bon Iver record.

Oh, I knew Justin Vernon and his willowy croon. I knew he had a knack for melody and heartfelt but oblique lyricism over a misty cocoon of indie folk instrumentation with hints of electronic embellishment. I knew the waves of critical acclaim that had been piled on the record as one of the main acts behind the indie folk boom of the early 2010s. But it was one of those cases where I knew their sound far more by reputation and those they inspired over the past decade than their actual music. And in some sense that's a problem, not just in the inflation of reputation but also a sound we've seen grown and develop over the past few five or so years - and for the longest time that was fine, as I didn't think I'd have to care. After all, the band was on hiatus, there was no sign they'd ever make another album.

And yet they did and as such I went into Bon Iver's first two albums... and I'm not sure what to tell you all, because while I liked it, I didn't fall in love with it the way I think so many people did around the turn of the decade. It was pretty, the writing mostly worked, Justin Vernon did his ethereal thing... I just didn't get sucked into it as much as I wanted. I will say while For Emma, Forever Ago is probably the better record, Bon Iver, Bon Iver does have some strong standouts when the songs build a little more of a groove and foundation to them. So okay, with that in mind, did the newest major stylistic shift on 22, A Million work for me more?