A big question music fans might have when purchasing any new music release is, “Will there be more than one good song on this album?” True fans, faithful fans, might never think this way. But, fans who are new to a band such as Bon Iver might not want to plunk down the cash.
So, is this release worthy of the time and money? Absolutely. Is there more than one hit single on the entire album? No Doubt. There are easily eight or nine solid hits on the record. The band’s latest release, “i,i” is a spiritual wonder, interwoven and mixed with melancholy melodies. The band’s mine of music dropped on Friday, August 9th.
The new release, filled with one-lettered word titles, plays so well and is so pleasing that you might be amazed at how fast the forty-minutes pass. So much so that you’ll want to spend another eighty minutes or more, listening to, breathing in, warming up, and getting comforted by the smooth sounds of the genius that is Bon Iver. This release is the band at their finest.
The new release has an individual, yet collectivism feel. The lower case usage of the personal pronoun, i, suggests Vernon might be advocating as people we are small, but as a group, collected, changes, good and great can positively affect the world, collectively.
Together we stand, divided we fall as Vernon croons on “Marion,” and reminds those who spread hate, “You can’t be in heaven without love.”
Vernon, who says he was inspired by English folk trio, The Staves, perhaps, is at his best on the track, “Faith,” where he ponders about, “The wonderful things I’ve learned to waste.”
The times they are a-changing. Vernon, who at times, sounds eerily close to Bob Dylan mixed with a portion of the funk-rock legend, Prince, has something to say and feel with this new record. Recently, Vernon stated in the media that the band’s current release had a “fall seasonal feel to it.”
Vernon, a guest on satellite radio, dropped some knowledge about the song, “Salem,” suggesting the Indigo Girls inspired the song, and that he fondly remembered in the past, listening to the Girls and reminiscing about the emotional season of fall.
One standout tune on the 13-track release, “Hey, Ma,” is brilliant in its imagery, remorseful in its memories, and heartening for the future. For a listener who might have had, or been in a relationship that could have, and should have been better, “Hey, Ma” might strike a nerve, bring back a sad feeling, or possibly even make you cry. Things seem more manageable when you can yell out to your mom unless she’s no longer around. Miss you, Mom!
There are other songs on this uneven numbered sullen manifesto from Bon Iver, songs that make you think. Songs like, “Naeem,” and “iMi,” all fall into the fourth season feel and make you think about the little things in life, while you ponder in the shorter days, and the longer nights, all courtesy from listening to the forty-minute solitude of Iver’s “i.i.”
The standout track, “U (Man Like) features the brilliant work of the piano -pop legend, Bruce Hornsby and The National’s Bryce Dessner with a little vocal help from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
Visitors to Bon Iver’s website, BonIver.org will be treated to the band’s visual images of graceful movement interpreted with human emotions, displayed through dance, and viewed by accompanying videos. All thirteen tracks have accompanied videos that include the lyrics.
Make a point to check yourself into the listening room of Bon Iver and think about the coming fall, how to be kind, have some faith, and embrace the changing seasons…
The band recorded most of the album at April Base, Wisconsin, adding the finishing touches to the record at the Sonic Ranch studios in El Paso, Texas.
The new tracks did arrive a few weeks earlier than the anticipated date of August 30th. But, the physical copies of the record are still due to drop on the original August, 30th date.
Bon Iver, “I,i” dropped on the 9th of August, 2019 courtesy of Jagjaguwar records.