Bon Iver releases new album after hiatus


Taylor Garber, Staff Writer

After a four year hiatus, Bon Iver has struck back with power. Winning two Grammys in 2012, the indie/alternative band has returned to the music scene with their album “22, A Million” on Sep. 30, 2016. Reaching No. 1 on iTunes album charts, the band grabbed their audience immediately. Their fanbase wanted to hear something new after Bon Iver’s spontaneous release of  song “Heavenly Father” on June 14, 2014.

The dreamy and mesmerizing lyrics of the new album relate back to Bon Iver’s previous albums “For Emma, Forever Ago” and “Bon Iver, Bon Iver.” The discontented love life sung about in all three albums is relatable, yet confusing, such as in “715 – CRΣΣKS”: “I’m toying with your blood, I remember something, and be a lesson; kissing on the nights I get to last.” It’s up to listeners to decipher the meaning behind the lyrics. The eclectic word choice and style had me loving the new album. The lyrics made me feel like I was experiencing the stories the band was telling; it was as if the emotions were my own. I felt like I encountered the same events and past as the band had; the band connected their music to their listeners.

Apart from the lyrics, the sound is completely different from their other works. In the new album, there are slight sounds related to their previous album, yet it is a completely new and different robotic type of timbre. The previous albums’ acoustics have been replaced with an electronic sound that has computer generated vocal effects. This record is a drastic change from Bon Iver’s older music, but it is absolutely amazing.

Justin Vernon, Bon Iver’s lead singer, sonically leads the music to invoke certain emotions. Two religion-related songs, “33 ‘GOD’” and “666 ʇ,” display the anxiety induced questions Vernon might have experienced during his band’s hiatus. The line, “why are you so far from saving me?” is directly from Psalm 22 (22 is also included in the album’s title). The references give listeners, including myself, an unexplainable feeling. It is as though his religion becomes my religion. Also, in songs such as “21 M◊◊N WATER” and “29 #Strafford APTS,” Vernon’s lyrics tell stories of his past and dreams he had while living and writing songs in Wisconsin. He entrances listeners with his peculiarly interconnected lyrics.

Bon Iver’s songs aren’t just plain old verse one, chorus, verse two — they comprise of random spurts of lyrics and melodies that don’t fit into the song due to the eccentric wording, yet it makes them incredible. The consist of random verses, and a rare chorus, which makes it totally different than their music five years ago. The music comprises of stories of love, love lost, and religious thoughtfulness. Also, the songs each have their own symbol on the cover of the album, making each one of them special in their own way.

While I loved the sound and lyrical aspect of the album, I did not like that it came out so late. Major fans, including myself, have waited years for a return, which was unexpected. Bon Iver never told their fans when their album was coming out after the hiatus, so I did not enjoy the surprise release of new songs.

Overall, Bon Iver’s “22, A Million” framed the distinction between the band’s old music versus their new sound. It brings out a different style of noises and concepts placed into the album, making the indie band grab the charts after the release. Old fans and new fans are in love with the current style of Bon Iver.