22, A Million: Bon Iver


Kayla Spear


Bon Iver, acclaimed indie band, has finally released the new long awaited album, 22, A Million. Just like his previous albums, lead singer Justin Vernon plays with layered harmonies and metaphoric lyrics. However, he adds so much more in this; even more voice distortions, surprising elements, and subtle changes. Being his first album in five years, most of his fans are raging with excitement.

Releasing his first solo album in 2007, For Emma, Forever Ago, Vernon made an impact on the music industry and on many people. He recorded and published his music very cleverly and independently. The album skyrocketed and even granted Vernon with two Grammies. In 2011, he released his second album Bon Iver, Bon Iver. This album, while still holding similar sounds to For Emma, Forever Ago, held even more of an emotional diversity. Both his lyrics and his style grasped listeners with its uniqueness and meaning.

33 “GOD” begins a beautiful piano riff unique to his music and moves into the harmonic vocals always produced by Vernon. He then contrasts the classical beauty with harsher drum beats and stutter stepping. The chorus is hardly audible and adds to the mystery of the song.

21 M♢♢N WATER begins soft and purely. As the song grows, so do the dynamics. It gets louder and more intense but then moves into a soft saxophone until that begins breaking up as well. To me,  the end of this piece resembles the growing chaos in Vernon’s self-discovery.

Embracing the chaos of life and demonstrating it through music comes across as unsure but Vernon knows exactly what he’s doing– musically at least. His self-exploration is so evident throughout his new album and creates and environment that people can escape too. It’s relatable and touching and I can’t think of a better way that he could’ve expressed it.