Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
NME.COM feature on Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago album including album review, artwork, tracks, listen now, tour dates, discography and more.
Release date: 19 February 2008
Tracklisting click track to read more
- Lump Sum
- Skinny Love
- The Wolves (Act I and II)
- Creature Fear
- For Emma
- Re: Stacks
A snazzy new sheen on the Björk favourite
- Jun 22, 2012
Justin Vernon’s second is a moving, lush step forward
- Jun 14, 2011
They will play three UK and Ireland shows, including London's Barbican on November 11
Jagjaguwar have said 'Bon Iver is not over by any means'
Singer-songwriter says he isn't in the right 'headspace' to make another Bon Iver album
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago: Wikipedia Album Entry
Bon Iver is the work of Justin Vernon. He isolated himself in a remote cabin in Wisconsin for almost four months, writing and recording the songs on For Emma, Forever Ago, his haunting debut album. A few parts (horns, drums, and backing vocals) were added in a North Carolina studio, but for the majority of the time it's just Vernon, his utterly disarming voice, and his enchanting songs. The voice is the first thing you notice. Vernon's falsetto soars like a hawk and when he adds harmonies and massed backing vocals, it can truly be breathtaking. "The Wolves (Acts I & II)" truly shows what Vernon can do as he croons, swoops, and cajoles his way through an erratic and enchanting melody like Marvin Gaye after a couple trips to the backyard still. "Skinny Love" shows more of his range as he climbs down from the heights of falsetto and shouts out the angry and heartachey words quite convincingly. Framing his voice are suitably subdued arrangements built around acoustic guitars and filled out with subtle electric guitars, the occasional light drums, and slide guitar. Vernon has a steady grasp of dynamics too; the ebb and flow of "Creature Fear" is powerfully dramatic and when the chorus hits it's hard not to be swept away by the flood of tattered emotion. Almost every song has a moment where the emotion peaks and hearts begin to weaken and bend: the beauty of that voice is what pulls you through every time. For Emma captures the sound of broken and quiet isolation, wraps it in a beautiful package, and delivers it to your door with a beating, bruised heart. It's quite an achievement for a debut and the promise of greatness in the future is high. Oh, and because you have to mention it, Iron & Wine. Also, Little Wings. Most of all, though, Bon Iver.
Photographer: Gilbert Vernon.
Personnel: Christy Smith (vocals, drums); Randy Pingrey (trumpet, trombone).
Recording information: Fairall, Raleigh, NC (11/2006-12/2007); The Hunting Cabin, WI (11/2006-12/2007).
Rolling Stone (p.68) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The music evokes the acoustic side of Nick Cave or Neil Young, with his voice ranging from a creepy falsetto to a moan."
Rolling Stone (p.92) - Ranked #29 in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums Of 2008 -- "Justin Vernon builds big sounds that warm you from within."
Spin (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Vernon's voice -- delicately layered and yearning -- gives standouts 'Skinny Love' and 'Flume' their stunningly direct emotional impact..."
Spin (p.47) - Ranked #31 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[He] built a cathedral to lost love from a base of acoustic guitar and his astonishing, frequently multitracked vocals."
Uncut (p.80) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] magical, hyper-real experience....A sealed, complete and satisfying album..."
Q (Magazine) (p.147) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]is stretching and warping of songs until the tension between plaid-shirted authenticity and technical adventure carries a considerable charge, the kind undiminished by repeat plays."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] record that reaches out and demands attention. It is a powerful act of transformation....Isolation doesn't get more splendid than this."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.73) - Ranked #4 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[H]e's made something beautiful and true that will last for ages."
Harp (magazine) (p.107) - "Vernon's strikingly soulful singing adds an expressive realism to his songs. Charged with honesty, his voice amplifies the unusual beauty of his songs."
Clash (magazine) (p.118) - "[R]efreshingly uplifting and should be heralded as a celebration of unique music making..."
Clash (magazine) (p.65) - Ranked #21 in Clash's "The 40 Best Albums of 2008" -- "The album is a testament to Justin's hard work and perseverance of over a decade of recording music in different forms."
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