Bon Iver‘s For Emma, Forever Ago and its eponymous follow-up have left an indelible mark on the last decade. Yet if anything, what we’ve heard from upcoming third LP 22, A Million has gently pushed neo-folk precedents aside for something altogether different. Latest cut, 33 “God” continues this affirmation.
A minimalist piano introduction gives way to Vernon’s augmented falsetto vocals. Studio experimentation pervades as vocoded backing vocals and bit-crushed hip hop beats permeate the track. Yet there’s still some latent idyll, a fingerpicked banjo sits buried within the mix and Justin Vernon’s vocals project serenity even at their most aggressive. But for 33 “God” it’s less of the group’s typically melancholic drift and more a climactic ascension.
Bon Iver’s albums have always been lavishly produced, but 22, A Million could be their first overtly “studio album.” Pitch-shifted vocals, sampling of Italian pop singer Paolo Nutini‘s Iron Sky and experimental production nuance cut closer to conventional pop than the group has ventured before. Yet far from off-putting, the results so far suggest that this next album is shaping up to be something truly worthwhile.
22, A Million is out September 30 on Jagjaguwar via Inertia Music. See the full tracklist below.
22, A Million Tracklist:
1. 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
2. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄
3. 715 – CR∑∑KS
4. 33 “GOD”
5. 29 #Strafford APTS
6. 666 ʇ
7. 21 M◊◊N WATER
8. 8 (circle)
10. 00000 Million