Friday, September 30, 2016

Album Review :: Bon Iver - 22, A Million

Bon Iver

22, A Million

September 30 2016 (Jagjaguwar)


Words: Alison Mack

Justin Vernon brings out all the numbers and symbols for his third album ‘22, A Million' and not least nightmare track titles: ‘29 #Strafford APTS’, ‘10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄’ being just two examples.

It's a world away from his debut 'For Emma, Forever Ago', released a whole nine years past. Here he introduces such touches as a vocoder to build on an electro sheen, leaving possibly just the piano-led, gospel-tinged  ‘1000000 Million’ to sound like the artist of old.

Sparse opener '22 (OVER S∞∞N)' sees him lament that, “It might be over soon,” over Auto Tuned vocals and Mahalia Jackson sample. Though there's a way to go in fact. Through the layered vocals of acapella track '715 – CRΣΣKS', through '666 ʇ' which draws on Vernon’s numerology bent over arpeggiated synths - “​6’s hang in the Door / what kind of shit to ignore”, around '____45_____', a song carried by Vernon's vocals and a brass section, and out via '33 GOD's experimental samples and keys.

'22, A Million' is an eccentric, somewhat odd affair, but one that exudes a melodic fragrancy.

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