What I’m Listening To: Week 11 (Bon Iver Edition)

by Stephen

He’s back. Justin Vernon has officially made his return as Bon Iver at the 2nd annual Eaux Claires Festival in Wisconsin this weekend. And as promised, he has released new music to coincide with his band’s reappearance after a long five year hiatus. Listed below are two of his newest singles (with thoroughly insane titles to boot) that provide us with a good taste of what is to come. Bon Iver’s newest album, entitled 22, A Million, is now slated to drop on Friday, September 30th.

1. 22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]

Where do we begin? After two excellent stints with both Volcano Choir and The Shouting Matches, Justin Vernon finally finds himself back home. Bon Iver has officially re-risen. Here, “22” is the first of two singles ripped straight off of his newly announced album, 22, A Million. Here, the static ambience, vocal repetition and celestial chorus create a lush, new sound for fans of the band, both old and new. And that saxophone is just touchy enough to bring us back to the glory days of the self-titled album. But most importantly, Justin Vernon’s voice in “22” is crisp and clear amongst the fading and blipped noises that echo in and out throughout the song. It remains consistent until “22’s” end, allowing for a stream of string instruments to slowly let the new single fade into its quiet outro. While there’s just enough in “22” to settle for familiarity within our ears, there’s also just enough newness to get us excited for the upcoming 22, A Million as well.

Watch the lyrical music video for “22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]” by Bon Iver below: 

2. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠ (Extended Version)

There is an unexpected aggression found in “10”. A dark, stormy, chaotic turmoil that courses through the distorted drum beats that start off this single. Make no mistake, “10” is a direct descendent resulting from Justin Vernon’s time working on Kanye West’s Yeezus. The same tribal, trap noises found on Kanye West’s album is found here as well, accompanied by a swell of voices all codified by an orchestral sounding auto-tune. “10” is unlike anything that Bon Iver has put out in his past. This is a signaling of new direction. And it’s an exciting indicator of the high experimentation and risk-taking that Bon Iver may have undertaken while making 22, A Million. Might it be a stretch to say that this is his first banger?  Maybe so. Nevertheless, it’s another promising sign of things to come in the band’s near future.

Watch the lyrical music video for “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠ (Extended Version)” by Bon Iver below: