Review: 22, A Million by Bon Iver

22, A Million by Bon IverAt the risk of sounding dismissive, there’s an easy reason to like Bon Iver. His first two albums illustrate just that: simple guitar harmonies, a delivery that can do both sing-along and leave-me-alone, perhaps Justin Vernon encapsulating all that’s good and bad about the so-called hipster lifestyle, and what makes it appealing to a particular subset. (I told you, I risk sounding dismissive.) But then there’s always been a sense of unease with his songs – even “Skinny Love” has that streak running underneath its joyful exterior. 22, A Million may sound like him rejecting everything he established – the so-called “weird record” even fans will be split by – but, really, Justin just got some new toys and fleshed that side out. Anybody who’s heard of his recent collaborations with the likes of Poliça, Kanye West and James Blake will recognize that this is just a natural progression – although the song titles suggest a bit of trolling, too. Yet, in different clothing, Bon Iver’s undercurrent of uncertainty continue to flow. It’s not as much their experimental record as it is their rawest one. [NB]4/5

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