April 16, 2018
Issue 3 2018
Music Review

Bon Iver – 22, A Million

Bon Iver’s third album 22, A Millionis a far cry from his previous simplistic, folk-orientated work. It’s laced with processed vocals, synths, samples and innovative production techniques, though the essence of him is still very much there. His songs 29 #Strafford APTSand 0000 Million are familiar, driven by piano (and guitar) and his beautiful, melancholic voice.

Each song is so beautifully constructed it feels like they are tailored just for me in that they somehow know exactly how I am feeling. It then becomes very therapeutic, it’s almost as if the songs are listening to me and I am being comforted in some way. The album is also quite hypnotic and meditative, I find myself in a trance when I listen to the songs 21 Moon Water and 8 (circle). There’s a song for every occasion it seems, from sitting out in the garden in the warm sun, or inside on a cold day, perched by the window watching the world go by.

I’m still in awe of his potent, poetic lyrics, even though I sometimes can’t understand a word he is saying. I love the line in his song Over Soon, “there I find you marked in constellation / there isn't ceiling in our garden / and then I draw an ear on you / so I can speak into the silence.”

The song 715 Creeks is one of my absolute favourites. It’s merely acapella, though it is heavily manipulated with the use of a prismizer that harmonises to the melody in the most gut-wrenching, beautiful way. The voice becomes deep and robotic and seemingly auto-tuned.

The realm of music in which I listen to is very particular and small, like keeping a few good, loyal friends, but on the odd occasion I will branch out and try something completely new and add it to my collection if I really love it. Bon Iver is well and truly on that list.