It’s been a confusing week for music. Coming to terms with Frank Ocean’s visual album, Crystal Castle releasing the first album since the messy departure of Alice Glass, and the fact that the most talked about release is the soundtrack to Netflix’s Stranger Things. It’s all just a lot to take in.
Weaving through the thick weeds of audio confusion, I did happen to find a glimmer of hope. Bon Iver announced that their new album titled ‘22, A Million’ will be released on September 30th. It will be the band’s first full album release since their 2011, self entitled classic. Lucky ‘Eaux Claires’ ( frontman Justin Vernon’s festival-held in his Wisconsin hometown) attendee’s got to hear the entire album live last Friday.
The rest of us have only been privy to two tunes which are available for streaming. The first track is 22(Over Soooon). It’s as familiar and comfortable as an ex-lover. One that you forgot just how much you missed until they come back knocking. Vernon’s falsetto is exquisite as he says the haunting chorus over and over again. He’s the same golden hour sunlight, radiating through a tree’s autumn leaves. The purposefully complex layers of sax and female vocals somehow only magnify his effervescing voice, as it rises above the tumultuous background. This song is ether. In a world where things are expected to change, it’s a sigh of relief that Bon Iver has the ability to stay very much the same.
As comfortable as 22(over sooon) is, Bon Iver DOES want us to recognize that they too are ABLE to change as much as we all have since 2011. The second track ’10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄’ is reminiscent of an early Phil Collins’ ballad- if Phil Collins fooled around with Abelton and was from Bushwhick. The distortion is very deliberate and dare I say… overkill? No, you’re right. It’s just a tad dramatic and a huge departure from classics like Wash. and Michican’t. But yet, Vernon’s voice is the lighthouse that cuts through the fog, beckoning you back toward the familiar shores of Bon Iver.