A New Man and a Crispy Realization


On September 30th, Bon Iver released his newest album 22, A Million. Upon first reading the title, I didn’t understand it. What does the number-word combination mean? At first glance, why should I understand it? When you meet someone for the first time, are you supposed to know anything about him or her? Well, no. That’s the beauty of getting to know someone! I have never met Bon Iver singer-songwriter Justin Vernon and maybe I never will, but slowly I may get to know what Justin Vernon sounds like.

His friend Trever explains that the “22” represents the recurring symbol of the number 2. Growing up, he has seen this number continuously appear on signs, jersey numbers, and other patterns. Justin identifies with 2 as the duality he feels between himself and “A Million” people with whom he shares the world: the many people he will never know. Justin Vernon is just one of “A Million” people with his own individual sound. Read more at http://boniver.org/bio

We all have a collection of sounds for our life. Each day has a new sound. If you have a routine, then this song repeats like a chorus. When something shakes the repetition, a new verse begins. It’s difficult to learn the words of these unique lines as opposed to the chorus. Change is hard. But these verses contain the most spectacular messages hidden within the change in sound. The lines are in the song for a reason just like things in your life happen for a reason.

Bon Iver’s previous albums deliver a sense of reflection like the beautiful For Emma, Forever Ago he wrote as a recluse near his home town, Eau Claire, as a means of coping with longing and lost love. Compared to these previous albums, he creates more of optimistic tone in 22, A Million. The unique layering of sounds makes you peel apart each element of the song and think. Usually his songs let you wind down like unraveling the tension between two strands of tightly intertwined rope, but this album lets you wind down, then sends you into a new direction of thought like those singular fibers of a strand of rope becoming independent of each other and modified into a new shape. This journey of thought is one that you may take alone. The use of echoing vocals creates a sense of isolation, but not in a negative way. It’s as though you have rebuilt yourself from trouble in your life and have finally turned the corner into a direction of prosperity, into a new direction of thought. On Bon Iver’s album For Emma: Forever Ago, there is a song called “Re: Stacks.” This is one of my favorites particularly because of the honesty in one line when he says, “This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization; it’s the sound of the unlocking and the lift away.”

Now it’s been a while since the For Emma: Forever Ago album. 22, A Million sounds like the transition to a new man and a crispy realization.



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