Bon Iver Offers a New Sound



After a five-year hiatus, Bon Iver has once again graced their audience with yet another one of their creations. On Sept. 30, the album “22, A Million,” was made readily available where sweet melodies slowly rocked its listeners to a place of euphoric bliss. Even in light of this long awaited release, many are undecided on how they feel about it. Some continue to stay faithful to the Iver following, further praising their work. Some, on the other hand, feel this newly released album is too different from his previous music.



Bon Iver released their first album, “For Emma, Forever Ago,” in 2008. Upon first hearing it, one would be pleasantly surprised by the sweet tunes that would flood from their speakers. This album is perfect to turn on during a rainy day, a break up, or when you needed to hear the soft toned lyrics that could sing one into a deep sleep. Running a length of around 38 minutes, this indie-folk masterpiece focuses on the life of one man as he experiences love, loss and heartbreak. “Skinny Love” was one the most successful songs in this album, and still holds the ranking for song most listened to among all the music the band has produced.

With the music worlds’ attention now on them, Bon Iver proceeded to release two more albums after their first. “Blood Bank” was second to follow, being released in 2009, and the third, Bon Iver, which made its debut in 2011. Though there was similarity between these three albums, each of these releases possessed their own special qualities that made uniquely different from one another. No sound was the same.

In “22, A Million,” Bon Iver starts the listener on a journey that takes them almost back in time, providing a sound bit that sounds eerily similar to an alarm sounding, but dull enough that it soothes the listener at the same time. With the sound of the alarm, the voice of a woman soon follows, a muffled tone that is also clear, and sounds eerily similar to a music recording from the 40s or 50s. Starting the album at a slow pace, it is as if the artists are attempting to slowly ease their listeners in. With the next couple of songs the album takes off, the overall beat and tempo quickly picking up from when it first started. What sets “22, A Million” apart from the other music Bon Iver has produced is the sound. This distinct quality is evident throughout the album, where the sound Bon Iver produces sounds almost like parts, or gears apart of a machine. These variety of sounds attribute to the overall theme of the album, where even the names of the songs and album art are displayed to appear as random parts themselves.

With Bon Iver taking a new approach to their music with the release of this album, it is understanding how one who is listening and is familiar with their older work can be put off upon first hearing this. “22, A Million” is like the ugly duckling on first appearances. It’s weird, odd, and nothing like you have heard before, but after a couple runs through and adjusting to the unique sound, one can’t help but to slowly appreciate the work that has been created.

With a new season comes a new album. Bon Iver presents its audience with something new, fresh and different. Though this album is unlike any other, that can easily be said about most albums Bon Iver has produced. A change in sound and the artists’ attempt to bring their listeners something new should be welcomed. So plug in your headphones, turn on your music, and enjoy as “22, A Million” takes you into a blissful mind of peace.

Shelby may be reached at
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