Bon Iver’s latest release doesn’t spark any imagination or excitement

Vincent Nguyen, Reporter

Bon Iver, the indie-folk band hailed from Fall Creek, WI, released their third studio album on Sept. 30. The 10-song, 34-minute output is loaded with heavily-processed vocals ran through various effects with murky instrumentals as a backdrop.

Led by vocalist Justin Vernon, “22, A Million” is an odd (just look at the song titles) and abstract album, categorized in its own genre. There are a cluster of sounds at times with instruments, Vernon’s voice, and random sounds colliding with each other. This can lead to difficulty processing what is going on and makes it less enjoyable to listen to.

The album starts with “22 (OVER S∞∞N),” accompanied by a lackluster instrumental with glitches splattered throughout. The song just doesn’t hold the listener in. There is an absence of an “oomph,” which unfortunately plagues the whole project.

“10 d E A T h b R E a s T ”is another short, uneventful track. With a rumbling, distorted bass, Vernon’s voice – which is heavily filled with effects – doesn’t stand out, and blends poorly within the production. The third song, “715 – CRΣΣKS,” is a song focused on love. “Oh then how we gonna cry? // Cause it once might not mean something? // Love, a second glance,” Vernon sings. There are intimate and vulnerable lyrics throughout the song.

As the album continues, the tracks seem to blend together and become a long continuous song. “666 ʇ” is a religion themed song, but the lyrics are not coherent. The instrumental is more of an upbeat, intriguing sound compared to the rest of the production on the album. “21 M♢♢N WATER,” is an eerie, haunting song. Creepiness sets in with Vernon’s vocals but the song takes a complete left turn near the end with a weird assortment of sounds. Once again, not good.

The album ends off with the very dark, vulnerable “00000 Million.”

“If it’s harmed, it’s harmed me, it’ll harm, I let it in,” Vernon croons. These lyrics could entail a depressed person who lets harmful things into their life but cannot let them go. It is truly the darkest moment on the album.

“22, A Million” is confusing, bizarre, with no direction whatsoever. There is no clear highlight or standout. Vernon is capable of shining with just his bare voice as shown in “8 (circle),” but those moments are far in between. The excitement dwindles with each song, and the outcome becomes a 34-minute snooze fest.

Final Grade – 5/10

Favorite tracks – 8 (Circle)

Least Favorite tracks – 10 d E A T h b R E a s T, 29 #Strafford APTS, 21 M♢♢N WATER

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