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Monday
Sep262016

Bon Iver: '22, A Million'

One of the first words that comes to mind when thinking of '22, A Million' is defiance.  Bon Iver has never shied away from taking chances, but never quite like this.  The sound of this record is a long way from the woods of 'For Emma, Forever Ago', the titles make searching for and discussing the songs interesting, and the album art is mysterious and fascinating.  Bon Iver gives you their best music on a record that pushes the artists emphatically toward anonymity, letting the songs speak for themselves.

The tracklist for '22, A Million' was not what we expected but it certainly isn't that surprising from an artist who titled the songs on the last album after places.  Five years after the self titled second album and Justin Vernon is ubiquituous, but not in the way we might have predicted.  With an evergrowing, eclectic group of collaborators it's clear that Justin Vernon and company are here to further the plot, and to leave us with powerful, innovative and surprising music.  '22 (OVER S∞∞N)' is the opening track, and an introduction to the sound you can expect from this album. 

It also invites thoughts of impermance, and with it a sense of urgency to live and ultimately love.  As it ends for the first time you begin to savour the richness of the album.  It's followed by '10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄', a noisy, unpredictable example of how the record defies the modern digital era that helps it come to life by eliminating the sense of perfection that has become commonplace in modern music production.  '715 - CR∑∑KS' follows with only a voice, yet a multidimensional one.  The clean, bold piano sound cuts straight to the core as '33 “GOD”' begins.  As one of the singles that introduced the world to this new music, it's been given a lyric video.  It comes from the same universe as the album art, and seems like a coded message, much like the cover itself. 

'22, A Million' reveals its true greatness over timeThe balance of incredibly talented musicians and innovative digital technology give you a glimpse at the timeless beauty of this music as the banjo fades away at the end of '____45_____'.  The album in each of it's facets defies the status quo of the art form, and likely contains more information than we're gleaning despite countless listens.  Few artists create such unique music, and fewer still present it to the world in such a creative, unorthodox way.  In doing so, this record truly feels like an instant classic; familiar yet futuristic.

 

 

Get the album on iTunes