As a fan, it's hard not to get upset when your favorite artists take an extended break in between albums. But sometimes, I think it's necessary for artists to take a five-year hiatus to shut down one's musical persona and push the boundaries of their creativity. Because if the outcome is anything like what Bon Iver
and their mastermind, Justin Vernon, just produced, it could lead to the most innovative and atmospheric album yet.
22, A Million
is an album that is sonically pleasing from start to finish. It floats and drops from one song to the next, creating a sense of emotional clarity. It's very obvious that Justin Vernon used the break from Bon Iver to allow his sound to evolve and change from For Emma, Forever Ago
to the self-titled Bon Iver
. The lyrics are cryptic and the song titles are written in code making 22, A Million
Bon Iver's most inscrutable album yet. And that's exactly what makes this album so beautiful and intriguing.
"22 (Over S∞∞n)" is an interesting choice for an opening track. The mantra, "it might be over soon" dips throughout the song and it hints at an album that is much more dark and gloomy than it actually is. It's heavy on the synths and Vernon's perfect vocals are introduced twenty seconds in. "33 GOD" is a track that makes me believe that Justin Vernon got some inspiration when he was hanging out with Kanye. It's quite the production with keyboards, energetic percussion and little voices fading in and out of the track.
"29 #Stratford APTS" sounds the most like Bon Iver's older work. It's a slow burn of a song with an acoustic guitar as the focus. Vernon showcases his falsetto that we all know and love throughout this dreamy track. "21 M♦♦N WATER" is a perfect change of pace for the album as it's a very simple track. It has soulful vocals and strings that weave their way through the track and an autotune percussion that puts you in a deep meditation state. "00000 Million" is a perfect way to close 22, A Million
. It's soothing and easy to listen to and it gives you a complete feeling of satisfaction.
22, A Million
is an album for the insomniacs and morning people alike. Its rich with experimentation and strange in the most beautiful ways. As drastic as it is for Bon Iver to change their sound this much from their last albums, 22, A Million
is possibly their best work to date.