When my brother sent me a copy of For Emma, Forever Ago, I was living in Costa Rica in a little house surrounded by mango trees. I put the CD in my bootleg Walkman CD player and PC speakers in the middle of the day and didn’t like it. Luckily, I didn’t give up on the album and was intrigued enough to listen to it again that night, and again the next night, and again…
I think the reason I didn’t love Bon Iver right away was because he was doing something different and it was set in Northern Wisconsin, not Costa Rica. It seems commonplace now, but even just three years ago it was new: what he does with a simple guitar and an amazing voice. For me, it doesn’t really matter what Justin Vernon is saying. It’s the resonating sound within the music that’s so powerful.
Now Bon Iver has released a sophomore self-titled album, Bon Iver, and everyone has good reason to be excited. The album features the new single “Calgary.” The first three tracks of the album: “Perth,” “Minnesota, WA” and “Holocene” are spectacular. Tossing in a new array of strings, some saxophone, steel guitar, and electronic affects, it’s different enough to be new. But it also includes the Bon Iver sound from For Emma, Forever Ago. The end of the album didn’t catch my attention as much as the beginning, but if I know Bon Iver, it will just get better and better the more I listen.