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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Oct 20th, 2016

Bon Iver: 22, A Million

a-milBon Iver
22, A Million
(Jagjaguwar)

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Five years after their last release, Bon Iver has delivered its third full-length album, a daring, experimental collection of songs full of messaging that drives toward the existential, specifically the meaning of time and how we use it to plot our journeys through life. Throughout the album there is a sense of disorientation with the passage of time, made readily evident by the substitution of mathematical symbols for letters in a few of the song titles: “715 – CRΣΣKS” uses sigma notation, which represents a summation of similar terms; the symbol for infinity is used in “22 (OVER S ∞∞N).” Later in the album, frontman Justin Vernon refers to “the math ahead” and “the math behind it” as “moon water” – a concoction of nothing more than sage, mint, and water that supposedly has healing properties when ingested. Implied mockery aside, the album seeks to explore spirituality rather than poke fun at it. On the final track, “00000 Million,” Vernon opens with the following line: “Must’ve been forces that took me on them wild courses.” He goes on to lament his tendency to “let in what harms [him],” perhaps suggesting that in an age where speed trumps serenity, we’ve ceased to filter out or address the negative influences that inevitably come our way. Continuing the process of evolution from the indie-folk sound of For Emma, Forever Ago to the ethereal, more expansive feel of the self-titled record that followed their debut, the futuristic sound of 22, A Million builds on the group’s past successes in a way that none of us could have predicted.

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Bon Iver: 22, A Million