I’ve been listening to the new Bon Iver record for a few weeks (and lest you think I’m a terrible music thief, a few well-known websites shared it legally). After the first listen, I pre-ordered the LP, and today when I get home from work, it’ll be waiting for me in my mailbox. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been this excited about new music, and maybe that’s because I just don’t pay enough attention to new releases, but it’s also probably got a lot to do with this record being aaaamazing.
Bon Iver is the full-length follow-up to 2009’s Blood Bank EP, and is decidedly more melancholy – yet strangely bright all at the same time. The first two tracks, “Perth” and “Minnesota, WI” ebb into “Holocene,” which is one of the album’s darker tracks – and one of my favorites.
Singer Justin Vernon’s voice is more pronounced on the new album and the music behind it is delicate and almost hypnotizing. Featuring piano, saxophone and the ever-present synthesizer, it’s clear that there was a lot of thought put into these songs. The record’s first single, “Calgary,” is flowy and dreamlike, and the two songs that follow it take a departure from the first half of the record’s more melodic, instrument-driven approach – and “Lisbon, OH” is a minute-and-a-half transition into “Beth/Rest”, a track that reminds me (at least for the first minute or so) of 1990s contemporary rock radio – but in the best way possible. It’s a heartbreaking end to what might be my favorite record of the year (so far, anyways).
I can’t wait to listen to this record when it’s raining out, since that’s sort of the mood it gives off. It’s not a sunny, car-windows-rolled-down record, but I wouldn’t really expect that from Bon Iver. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Do yourselves a favor and pick this one up. And then listen to it a good 20 (or 30, or 40) times …not that I’ve already done that or anything…