Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago:
For Emma, Forever Ago is Bon Iver’s debut album and depending on who you ask, Justin Vernon’s most impressive work. Vernon (Bon Iver is a one man band) is previously of DeYarmond Edison, an indie folk band from his time in college. He is also a member of Volcano Choir, The Shouting Matches and Gayngs.
Vernon recorded For Emma, Forever Ago throughout a harsh Wisconsin winter spent isolated at his fathers cabin and the lyrical content of the record is reflective of that. Vernon understands that simple, acoustic-led arrangements married with lyrical depth can really pack a punch. The music can be achingly elegiac and each track an emotionally-charged vignette. Listen to Skinny Love for a sample of Vernon’s musings on the loneliness of losing love or The Wolves (Act 1 and II) for a taste of accusatory hurt: `someday my pain will mark you. Harness your blame’.
A friend at university first introduced me to Vernon’s music during a group study session. ‘Bones’ was playing in the background but the music caught my attention nonetheless. Most impressive was the depth of the songwriting and the attention-gripping vocals. Lyrically, the album plays out like a long narrative of love, loss, pain, jealousy and a sense of loneliness clearly inspired by the circumstances the album was written and primarily recorded under. Most impressive is Vernon’s ability to touch on the aforementioned subjects without the record sounding like a whiny false attempt at honesty. Quite opposite in fact, the songwriting is more of a balanced sense of wisdom and self awareness.
Favourite Songs: Re: Stacks & For Emma