Review Summary: the perfect album for solitude.
Exactly how alone are you willing to be? Are you capable of withstanding the force of silence being that it can captivate the soul stronger than any piece of involvement? Can you come to terms with the consequences of life whether good or bad? In hopes that someone reading this can and will approach these inquiries, would you in fact be ready for the outcome? So few times do we as humans actually become honest with ourselves. We’ve converted our surroundings to cushion the falls along the road of life, thus hindering the experience of each bump we may face and their teaching capabilities. I don’t blame man for this submission, life can and does suck. And by all accounts who really has anything, person, place or thing, that can accompany them with each turn they my face. For Emma; Forever Ago
album you should play in the car while you’re moving along through life.
Somewhere between the agonizing honesty of “Flume” and the accepting nature of “re: stacks” Justin Vernon comes to terms with life in a way that very few would even when listening to For Emma; Forever Ago
can. What’s most interesting is that it’s not necessarily what spews from the mouth that’s most important, but the history behind the creation which empowers the deliverance. The cabin that created the solace – yeah, that’s loneliness in its purest form. The disregard for any real human application – yeah, that’s the acknowledgement of having no comfort. And that potent atmosphere of everything becoming bitter – that’s the recognition of life. You see, Justin Vernon has stumbled upon something so few do - the ability to overcome. Of course he didn’t achieve such a solace alone. It’s clear he borrowed from the despair Elliott Smith
exuded, but he’s able to make the realization his own by growing throughout the process of the record. This is why For Emma; Forever Ago
is a classic.
This album has the distinct ability to convey every emotion simply because it’s bound to the tithings of life. Becoming so much more than a breakup album, Justin Vernon has manipulated each track to suit the ambiguous nature of one’s feelings within each instance. Take “The Wolves [Act I and III]” for example, which encompasses one of the albums most gut wrenching moments repeating a bridge of “What might have been lost / Don’t bother me”; now I’m sure anyone reading that stanza could apply it to numerous dilemmas, loved one or not. Except I’d like to take it a step farther. Beyond the recognition that accepting what won’t come is something that can’t devastate the mind. He applies a a hint of swagger beneath his lines that says more than his words can. Remember the nuances I explained earlier? Vernon makes sure to accompany those aspects inflicting the reminder of how it feels to overcome with such a situation.
It’s hard not to talk about every song since each one portrays volition toward acceptance. I continue to repeat this ideal as it’s the basis of the record; the reason for its creation and the predicament in which such a fruitful endeavor found ground. Notice “Skinny Love” which insists an aggressive hook within its solemn deliverance that balances a beautiful tug-o-war coming to fruition right around the lines of “Who will love you? / Who will fight? / Who will fall far behind?”. It’s interesting because For Emma; Forever Ago
isn’t a concept album but cast the first stone at one who wouldn’t recognize its purpose. It’s a central theme. One that seems overplayed and outdone by every Hawthorne Heights
band out there; though Bon Iver is able to trudge new territory with the ability of including a vapid space of ambiance. It’s the lifeless persona that creates the album, that sense of isolation that enhances the experience beyond the typical. Essentially creating an album everyone must hear.