Bon Iver: Bon Iver

Continuing with the Grammy theme, another big winner that I haven’t tuned into yet is Bon Iver. I saw their performance on SNL and was completely floored by the two songs, so it was really no surprise to me that they won two awards on Sunday night. This is an album I know I needed to have a listen to, so their self titled disc from 2011 is going to be the post of the night!

Perth explodes into your ear drums right off the bat and you know this is going to be something different. The vocals are soft and graceful with a higher pitch than most. There are so many instruments molding together, taking good use of their relationships, but shining on their own. There’s really great drum action happening all through the song, leaving an edge to the quiet vocals.

Relaxing, mesmerizing, entrancing. I wrote these words down while I was listening to Holocene for the first time. Usually, when I feel upset or angry, I tend to listen to angrier, harder music, but Bon Iver is so calming that you almost feel as though you’re just laid back, floating on water and clouds. I’m sure this would calm down even the angriest of humans.

Since I don’t know that much about this band, a good Google search was in order. Apparently their band name is derived from the French phrase meaning “good winter” or “have a good winter.” That seems fitting considering the tone of the music. The entire album feels like I could just get lost. It feels almost starkly quiet – like I would envision a scene of snow in a forest that wasn’t touched by human life. For those of you who don’t know, I write this as I’m listening so I can have a more honest reflection on the album. I got so lost in the album that I forgot to mention a couple of songs.

Wash. is so beautiful that I can’t resist writing about it. Stark piano notes open the song over the fragile vocals. Violins chime in to add to the whimsical mixture of instruments. The stark piano notes continue throughout the whole song, which is interesting juxtaposition wise. Having that pitted against such fair vocals is a dynamic that has to be dealt with carefully or one of the sides could be over powered. Bon Iver pull it off perfectly.

The album wraps up with what is possibly the strongest track on the album, Beth/Rest. The vocals are more up front in this song instead of hanging toward the middle ground. The guitar also makes more of an appearance in this song than in others, along with a saxophone and more piano work.

The instrumentation on this album is really what blew me away. There are so many different sounds that are mixing together to create such truly beautiful music that it’s hard to wrap your head around. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get lost in this album in no time. This is such a perfect album to throw on if you’ve had a long day or a stressful day or a joyous day. No matter your mood, it’ll mellow you out and bring to light some truly gorgeous mixing of musical instruments that will uplift your mood and carry your troubles away.


Key Tracks
Wash. (track 7)
Beth/Rest (track 10)
Holocene (track 3)

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8 thoughts on “Bon Iver: Bon Iver

  1. Bon Iver is definitely a great band and their cd is amazing I have it and those tracks are my favorite as well as Hinnom, TX. There’s something about their calm but effective music that sits well with me.

  2. Fin says:

    I didn’t really see or care what Bon Iver was about until a couple months ago when I gave in and gave them a fair listen, only to discover that I loved the music. I bought this album a couple weeks after Christmas (on vinyl, of course) and it’s still one of my favorites! The music is very calm and relaxing, and I feel like I could easily fall asleep to it (in a good way, i like falling asleep with a record playing!). I “review” albums on my own blog occasionally, I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a read sometime!


    • I was the same way! I had seen rumblings about them around Internet, I just never really cared enough to check them out. I had no idea what I was missing.

      I will most definitely check it out! Thanks so much for the comment

  3. I really enjoy your blog. Looks like we kinda had similar ideas – but I love your in-depth reviews. Keep up the good work – you are right, you should be a journalist! Bon Iver is wonderful – also had them in my collection for a while without really checking it out and I am also very addicted now. Love the folk movement of the moment.
    Thanks for great posts!

    • Thank you so much! And thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment.
      I’ve been listening to them so much lately after finally giving in and I adore them. The folk movement right now is out of this world.

  4. joylash says:

    Absolutely amazing album. Saw them live and the only word I could use to describe it was “epic”.

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