Short, sharp and frank reviews from a confessed vinyl junkie. I’ll be posting my most loved records and most recent purchases right here for your perusal every week.
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago. is the debut album from the best band on the planet.
I’m sure those reading this think the above is a bold statement; it certainly is, especially coming from someone as obsessed with music as I am. I’ve had favourite bands and albums come and go, they may stay with me, but none have had the impact that Justin Vernon and his friends have had. This is my love letter and fanboy moment to the band.
‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ was initially a limited self-release in 2007, but then Justin (it’s basically a solo album, famously recorded in solitary confinement ) was picked up by Jagjaguwar and 4AD it got a ‘proper’ re-release in 2008. Once ‘Skinny Love’ was released, it blew up, and Justin Vernon had to get a band together to tour the album with.
I remember being smitten with this album from the first listen, the intricacies of the acoustic guitar, the ‘hear a pin drop’ production, the gorgeous melodies. It’s Folk and Soul, all wrapped up in a stunning package and perfectly orchestrated.
As much as I love it, Bon Iver manages to do what no other band does anymore, and that gets better with every release. The Beatles did it, as did The Stones, but the majority of bands nowadays never seem to hit the high mark of their earlier work. Bon Iver aren’t ‘most bands, ‘ though. The musicianship involved in each album and the production and songwriting are second to none; they’re constantly pushing boundaries and creating new soundscapes but at the same time, at the core, remains that beautiful voice otherworldly lyrics that you have to decipher.
Bon Iver are like an old friend. They’ve been there through the saddest times of my life, as well as the happiest. They’ve helped me get through some of the worst situations I’ve ever been in. Something within their music is magical to me; it just clicks, and everything falls into place.
Bizarrely, after all these years, I’ve still not managed to see them live; for whatever reason (in the wrong city/country at the wrong time), it hasn’t happened. I was meant to see them a few years ago in Manchester, but then a mass pandemic put a stop to that. So earlier this year, I’ve corrected that, and I’m now going to New Orleans to see them and will also be seeing them in Manchester later on in the year.
Music can have such a positive impact, and this band have been life-changing for me and for that, I will forever be in debt. Thanks, Justin x
Listen to Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago – BELOW: