“i,i” An Autumn Album
“I and I, We’re both here, we’re both responsible for one another and we are kind of in reality sort part of one large organism… I always liked that concept” – Justin Vernon
The latest Bon Iver album “i,i” is something that lead singer Justin Vernon had to share.
Released on August 9th 2019, 22 days earlier than expected “i,i“, or coined “The Autumn Album”, is the fourth album that Bon Iver have released. An album that has come full circle for lead singer Justin Vernon. It’s no longer about lost love, rather a newfound one.
A reflection of humanity radiates through the album. Bon Iver have made a list of great albums, all about self-discovery. Yet “i,i” is different. Justin Vernon has focused on the human connection. He emphasises its power to influence and transform further than just one individual.
For Bon Iver, this album is more than the product of good music. This album is healing for those who need it, it’s a calming, deep collection of songs that are made for the people. Something that’s different from earlier albums by the band.
Each song on the album brings life to a new sound, yet they sing the same message, that people bring out the best in each and every one of us.
— Bon Iver (@boniver) August 8, 2019
This album is a clever blend of autotune and classical instruments, paving the way to an industrial, new age sound of Bon Iver. The song “iMi” acknowledges his growth from the last album “22, A Million”, with the opening line “Living in a lonesome way, Had me looking other ways” mixed with the repetition of “I am” echoing in the background. The song is perfect to start the album, leaving listeners with the message the best way to move on is the acknowledgement of change.
“Holyfields,” the fourth track on the album and bringing it back to a beautiful and raw sound. Mixed with extended synth sounds and Vernon’s iconic voice, it carries through the air. The line “The dawn is rising, the land ain’t rising” mellows the song to a realisation of how our earth isn’t what it used to be. These same themes are shared in a later track “Jelmore”.
The most wholesome song “Hey, Ma” is a Bon Iver classic. The familiar sound of Justin’s voice brings back feelings of his earlier album “Emma, Forever Ago“. A broken person finding comfort in the presence of his mother is nothing short of meaningful. The song has it’s low and high, it sits with you afterward.
A Gospel infused ballad “U (Man like)” reacts to the state of where the wealthy and the homeless co-exist. “How much caring is there of some American love, When there’s lovers sleeping in your streets?” . This song preaches self-improvement as people, as a group of people with the strength of togetherness, We can and should be better.
“i,i’ addresses multiple human issues but brings it back to better times with each other. That thought never this album and with all the vocals, sounds and abstract ideas you feel fresh with a new perspective.
The Autumn Album leaves us to sit, listen and think, ‘that’s what a good album does’.