Bon Iver – 22, A Million
Welcome to Music Mondays, Deja Tu(esday) edition. Why limit that Music Monday feeling to just Mondays? This week I’m shaking things up and giving you bonus music. Today we’ll delve into Bon Iver’s 22, A Million. It’s been five years since Bon Iver released their eponymous album and a lot has changed for Justin Vernon and the rest of Bon Iver. And yet, nothing has changed. The band is still creating deft, thought-provoking songs. Vernon’s falsetto still manages to charm or annoy depending on your tolerance of the style. More importantly, Vernon has fallen deeper in love with auto-tune. For that last reason alone I hate this album. Oh, make no mistake, I also love it.
This album is the musical representation of that one person you can’t get out of your head or heart. You know it’s not good for you, but you can’t help returning to it. I heard the first two promo tracks 22(Over S∞∞n) and 10dEAThbREasT⚄ ⚄ a month or so ago and thought to myself, What the hell? The songs are auto-tuned, there’s grit like somehow they managed to sprinkle sand into the song. There’s a rumble like songs were recorded inside a drier with a shoe. It’s like they mated an old 78RPM record with an auto-tuning robot clunker. Still, the songs were also intriguing and I went back to listen to them again. And again. Now the music has burrowed into me.
In case it isn’t clear, other than the auto-tune and falsetto, this album isn’t like previous Bon Iver albums. They began down a path with Blood Bank, found that it widened into For Emma, Forever Ago, followed the fork on Bon Iver, then came to a sharp turn that dropped them into a tunnel with 22, A Million. If you’re the type that only wants one style from your favorite artists, this album may disappoint. If you love the artistic journey, this is your album.
The album’s artwork has me staring at length. I’m a sucker for surrealist artwork or unusual imagery. My eye chases one detail after another and my mind dives down the rabbit hole to understand the meaning. You can read more about Eric Timothy Carlson’s artwork experimentation here.
So let’s hear your thoughts.