I LOVE BON IVER. I’ve mentioned them in a few previous posts. Bon Iver initially started as just Justin Vernon and expanded to a band including Vernon, Sean Carey, Matthew McCaughan, Michael Lewis, and Andrew Fitzpatrick. I’m obsessed with everything they do. Justin has collaborated with Anaïs Mitchell for the award-winning Hadestown musical, on the most recent Taylor Swift albums, Kanye West stuff, and much much more.
For Emma, Forever Ago
This album was recorded in three months in a secluded cabin in Wisconsin. Vernon set out for a time of isolation, not album writing/recording but I guess that’s what he found himself doing. The album was not intended to be released “as is” but Vernon was encouraged by his peers not to rerecord. The collection is perfectly raw and incredibly emotional. Bon Iver creates the most honest music I’ve ever heard.
Favorite song: “For Emma”
In great contrast to his first release, Vernon brought in a good amount of well-known collaborators to broaden his message (i.e. Greg Liesz). To me, this album is a magnified version of For Emma, same honest emotion, just more stuff. To be clear, all good stuff. Continuing on the cool recording location trend, this album was recorded in a remodeled veterinary office.
Favorite song: “Beth/Rest”
22, a million
The band made some announcements on their tour for the last album that they wouldn’t be together for a while, so everyone was PSYCHED about this release. It was a huge stylistic turn, almost maximalist. Lots and lots of vocal effects and experiments. This release was when I really started listening to Bon Iver, and it was what motivated me to start listening to weird-ass music.
Favorite song: “____45_____”
This album is a great combination of the business in 22, a million and more raw vocals from their earlier stuff. This album was recorded with the lyrics at the forefront. Not that their other lyrics weren’t as good or powerful, they just wanted the audience to listen a little more. A few weeks ago, my friend Adam asked me which album was my favorite, and I initially said I couldn’t choose. After some time to deliberate, it’s definitely i,i.
Favorite song: I cannot choose one, sorry! It’s either “Hey, Ma” or “Marion.”
I have not taken time to include Bon Iver’s singles or EP’s, but they are just as incredible.
Click on the YouTube videos above or the Spotify playlist below, and enjoy listening to Bon Iver!
1 thought on “A Quick Small Guide to the Bon Iver Albums”
I LOVE Bon Iver, too! Thank you for sharing this awesome playlist that I will have on repeat, or maybe alternating with Christmas music. Maci and I have been loving his new colabs with TS!