Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bon Iver Album Review


Writing this review of Bon Iver’s second eponymous album has been a struggle for me. This album has received a lot of positive press and it has been hailed by many as one of the best albums of 2011. Last month they were nominated for foue Grammy awards, including: Best New Artist, Best Alternative Music Album, Song of the Year and Record of the Year. That set my expectations really high.

I am not really seeing it.

Bon Iver released their debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, in 2007. It was a casual indie/folk/rock album that was bare bones “man and a guitar”, and Justin Vernon was the star of the show. The album did well (300,000 copies, or so), and Justin has become a mysterious hero for other indie guys to look up to.

The group is based in Wisconsin (not my idea of a good winter, by the way), and also includes Michael Noyce, Sean Carey, and Matthew McCaughan. The band’s name is a rough translation of a French phrase that means “good winter”, or something like that.

Their second album was released in June of this year, and consists of ten songs that each represent a place, and I have never been to any of them. Bon Iver has a lot deeper and more luxurious sound to it, as there is a wide variety of horns, reeds, and percussion thrown into the mix, so in this sense I approve.

But despite the good pieces that are all over this album, it just drags. Maybe I am not its target audience, because after many listenings I never really got what it was they were trying to accomplish. It seems like 10 different college projects from students that all had the same teacher.

Well, I did kind of like “Calgary”. Maybe you should buy that track from iTunes for $1.29 instead of the whole album. You can buy a couple of coffees at Starbucks for that $8.70 you have left over.


1 comment:

  1. I heard a few of their songs on the Colbert Report several months ago. I thought they were boring as hell. Yep, I'm not seeing it either.