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Album Review: i,i by Bon Iver

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Justin Vernon, or better known as his stage name, Bon Iver, is a singer, songwriter, and producer from Wisconsin. i,i marks his fourth studio album and his continuation into experimental/electronic-folk sound.

The album starts off with Yi. This is a short introduction track that features some sound snippets and gives us a taste of what's to come. There are also some people talking, probably some sound recording they got in the studio. After the short thirty-second introduction, we go into iMi. The track opens up with chords that you heard from the introduction, as well as some chopped up vocals. This is a powerful way to open up the album with the chords that are repeated through different parts of the track. On this track, Justin Vernon reflects on some of the issues he has faced and talks about on 22, A Million. This album is also about fall/autumn. All of his past albums represented one of the four seasons.

Next, we have We. Keep in mind, these song titles are tamer compared to the ones on his previous album. The song opens up with a smooth jazz bass and slowly adds in more instruments throughout the song. In the middle of the track, an energetic, but soothing horn section comes in. The song production consisted of Justin Vernon and two other people that added their own style to it.


After that we have Holyfields,. No, that comma isn't a typo. The track opens up with a repeated synth note that will continue for the entire track. There's an occasional high note synth that resonates over the entire track at that split second. Justin Vernon is very political in his music, but the message is sometimes hidden. On this track, it is safe to assume that he's tackling the issue of climate change and how it is sometimes ignored.

Hey, Ma was one of the first singles released for this album and is probably the most popular track off the album. This track brings us back to the classic Bon Iver, with an exception of the electronic sound that is repeated. This track could be referencing childhood and the love of a mother while you're young. However, I believe there are some political issues talked about in this track, but unsure what issues he's talking about.

Next, we have U (Man Like). This track has a piano with a soulful feeling to it. Justin Vernon also uses his falsetto voice during the chorus of the song which seems a little out of place. There are multiple other people featured throughout the track. This track tackles some issues in America, like homelessness and addiction.

Naeem is the next track and is also the longest track from the album. This is an energetic track, and Justin Vernon has described this as the ending of the first act for the album. This song is calling for more love and less hate. During the chorus, he's talking about people crying, but he wants something to be done for those people.

Jelmore sucks us back into the electronic side of Justin Vernon. Lyrically, it is short but very poetic. In this track, it seems like it's the end of the world because climate change took a huge toll on the planet. The broken synth notes really add to the aesthetic of a near-end world.

After that we have Faith. This song is exactly what you might expect it to be out, faith. Justin Vernon talks about faith in religion, as well as being faithful in relationships. He knows that he should be honest and open with the person he is with. This is another track that brings us back to the Justin Vernon we know from For Emma, Forever Ago.

Marion is a short track that has a lot of repeated lyrics. Throughout the track, he keeps on saying, "I thought that this was half a love." This could mean that this person he's with wasn't that into him and just strung him along. It could also talk about different feelings people have in a relationship.

The title of the next track is Salem, which could have some reference to the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. In this song, he wants people to feel accepted no matter who they are or what they are like. Diversity is key in this song.

The next track, Sh'Diah is actually an acronym for Sh******t Day In American History. According to Justin Vernon, this was the day after Trump was elected for president. To keep my blog non-bias for any political party, I'm not going to talk about my thoughts of the song. Instrumental wise, it has an eerie opening but has some great saxophone parts later in the song.

The last track of the album is RABi. In this track, Justin wants people to just live their lives to the fullest. He said that when people were younger, there wasn't anything to worry about. However, now, people tend to fear what is going on in the world today instead of enjoying life.

What did you think of the album? What were some of your favorite tracks? Let me know down in the comments section.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: iMi, Hey, Ma, Jelmore

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