Bon Iver — Bon Iver
June 21st, 2011
From my narrow, skewed point of view, nobody’s making better music today than Justin Vernon. By that logic, if this were an objective list of the most profound or well-made albums of the year, Bon Iver would be at the top of the list, no question.
I don’t know how to explain it, but something about this album — maybe its tonal complexity or its rather stark departure from the mournful, lonely sound of For Emma, Forever Ago – just can’t fully deliver as a record. That’s not to say it’s not spectacular (it is) or that it’s not worth your money (absolutely), but there’s something about this music that only truly comes out when it’s performed live.
I was lucky enough to see Bon Iver last year at Austin’s Long Center, and the experience was stunning. This music was meant to be played by ten people on a stage at an acoustically engineered concert hall, and in that setting, there’s nothing like Bon Iver.
Bon Iver is a fantastic album, and it’s one I’ll come back to from time to time, but viewed strictly as a record it just doesn’t work as well as For Emma, Forever Ago. But if you get the chance to see Bon Iver’s sophomore album performed live, it’s well worth your time and money.