22, A Million – Music Review

22, A Million - Music Review

Hello everyone! Lisbon’s busiest music nerd is back for a review of the new Bon Iver record, 22, A Million. American Indie folk band, headed by the man Justin Vernon, drops their third album after a five year hiatus. Following their very successful album Bon Iver, Bon Iver, they took a break from performing and recording until recently. This album kind of came out of nowhere and took me by surprise to see that they were still together.

I was very excited to see what they would bring to the table this time, considering their 2011 release won two Grammy awards and was absolutely beautiful. It was melodic, it was layered and presented this listener with something new with songwriting and production.

This album kicks off with the track “22, (Over Soon)”, a very soft intro, with a droning vocal sample as the majority of the instrumentation. Occasionally you will hear some guitar twangs, but it is a very simple track. There is also a very nice saxophone solo in this track.

Probably my absolute favorite on this album is the song “Creeks, which features an amazing vocal performance from Justin. The lyrics are strong, it’s emotional, and Justin really gives this song all he has leading up to the end. I love the effect of the vocoder he uses for this song. Such a simple song in concept, but the weight in the lyrics and delivery add so much more to its complexity.

Another high point on this album is the track “33, G0D”, which is a little straighter forward than the last two mentioned. This track resembles more of their debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, than anything. It features some interesting pitch effects on the vocals with a “chipmunk-esque” effect. It adds a little silliness to break up the monotony of this track.

Arguably the only miss on this album for me is the track “10, (Death Breast)”. The only reason it is a miss to me is the production. It is so hard to listen to with its heavy distorted drums, ear-pounding vocals, and poor mixing. It’s not a bad song by any means, but the mixing and production of it makes it so hard to enjoy. It literally feels like they did not do any mixing what so ever, I am shocked they would put out a track that clips so bad. Maybe it’s intentional? But either way I don’t like that.

I think what Bon Iver did with this project is commendable. They reinvented their own wheel to make it even more unique and original. I hope this is the mindset they go into with the next project. Honestly, this album was enlightening, I highly recommend this album to anyone who likes folk, pop or even intense beats. I am feeling a light 9 rating on this one. I am absolutely blown away with the imaginative sounds that Justin and company brought to us this round.