Bon Iver's 'For Emma, Forever Ago' is probably the best album that I have ever heard. Period. I found no faults in this entire collection of songs, and I could listen to this until my ears bled and I was sobbing like a child. 'For Emma, Forever Ago' is made up of tracks that embody the sorrow, morbid thoughts, and loneliness that Justin Vernon experienced on his three month hiatus from the outside world back in 2008. Vernon basically packed up his stuff and moved into his father's cabin in the middle of nowhere, chopping wood and writing songs all day for a few months. This experience was no doubt transformative, because the sound he created there makes me seriously consider renting a cabin and mimicking his trip, if only to find inspiration as compelling as his.
The real emotion can be found in the vocals, as the instrumentals are only reinforcements. A lonely guitar and drum combo, with strange ambient sound accompaniments at points. These instruments are like any other folk sounds; simple, quiet, and repetitive. Though they are not extremely outstanding, they do accompany the vocals perfectly, and enunciate the emotion Vernor is portraying perfectly.
The vocals, as said, are where the real passion can be seen. Vernon is a Mountain Man from the wilds of Wisconsin, so it was very surprising to hear a high falsetto voice being emitted from him. His voice is spidery, sad, and infused with the immense sense of loneliness he felt whilst recording this. His voice is rather reminiscent of Elliot Smith, in that it is quiet, but never once do you miss a word that is said. These vocals are impassioned and troubled, which is why they are able to leave a listener dazed and depressed. Justin Vernon's plight is the driving force behind these tracks, with vocal harmonies and pleading lyrics to further pronounce the problems he faces.
'For Emma, Forever Ago' is perfect. Not only does Bon Iver craft a sound, but a feeling as well. With each song comes a new perception of Vernon's angst, from Flume's simple guitar and lyric combo, showing Vernon completely giving up, to Creature Fear's penetrating and loud harmonies, communicating Vernon's acceptance of what has happened, and his need to move forward. This trait, apparent throughout the album, is why this is perhaps the most haunting, passionate, utterly spectacular album that I have ever heard.
Uggh. Not a bad review, can't agree with much of it's points though. Just don't get how this is a classic at this point, or when the Bon Iver train will come to a crashing halt. Disagree with most of this, but nice descriptives
Here is a suggestion to replace your current first paragraph:
Sometimes, it’s hard to approach your favourite albums with anything short of a complete fan boy attitude. It’s hard to describe them with anything but complete praise, and idolisation. It is also easy to get overly pretentious when you try to recommend, so when I say For Emma, Forever Ago is the sound of Fall, the sound of raindrops cascading down a mountainside. It’s the sound of emotion, love, hate and betrayal all in one. It’s the sound of birth, death and life, crashing together and ending all too soon. For Emma, Forever Ago is the sound of triumph and failure, the sound of gain and loss, the sound of poetry being muttered quietly in case the emotion flutters away. It’s the sound of everything you take for granted, the music that graces your ears without you even knowing, it’s an emotional masterpiece that will never be recreated ever again, For Emma, Forever Ago is utter bliss, a masterpiece that doesn’t need to be loved by everyone, as those who do will find more than enough to last a lifetime, know that I say it as truthfully as anything I’ve ever said about an album before, and for me; For Emma, Forever Ago is all of this and more.
OK so I listened to this for the first time the other day, and right when the vocals kicked in I immediately thought of Toki from Metalocalypse singing to the girl with cancer...kinda ruined it for me haha.