There are very few artists that stand on there own. Where there work is insular and a part from the rest of the landscape; transcendent of trends and traditions. The list of artists who occupy this space is extremely short and I consider Bon Iver amongst that short list of transcendent artists. It’s been five year since his phenomenal Bon Iver, Bon Iver and he has finally returned with 22, A Million, an album as singular as anything he’s ever put out before.
22, A Million bucks any and all expectations I had about a Bon Iver album. He’s long departed from the traditional folk grounding that he started out on, instead choosing to experiment with electronic sounds, vocal manipulation, and soulful samples. It’s a bold undertaking that forced me to really pay attention, as sounds glitched and sputtered, and his vocals undulated in and out. It was full of brilliant compositions that somehow managed to be both lush and sparse at the same time, and he plays with this balance of opposing forces throughout the album. It’s a really bold amalgamation of sounds and it pays off into one of the most beautiful sounding records I’ve heard all year.
“Too much for me to pick up, no
Not sure what forgiveness is
We’ve galvanized the squall of it all
I can leave behind the harbour”
While often on 22, A Million he manipulates his voice with electronics there’s still plenty of spaces where his strong voice shines through clearly. The album seems to be about his search for grace and salvation, while he laments about the uncertainty of the times and in his life. He poses questions without going so far as trying to give answers or solutions. Instead, leaving it up to the listener to contemplate and draw their own conclusions.
“Where you gonna look for confirmation?
And if it’s ever gonna happen
So as I’m standing at the station
It might be over soon”
Have you heard 22, A Million? What did you think about it? Did his experimentation pay off or do you prefer his older sound? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave a rating for the album.
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22, A Million provides a beautiful soundscape that experiments with electronic sounds, vocal manipulations, and soulful samples. It's a transformative album that transcends any trends or traditions, and will most assuredly bring home a couple more Grammy's for Bon Iver.