My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #06

Number 06

What more can be said that already hasn’t been in the last ten months, since For Emma, Forever Ago, the utterly brilliant debut by Bon Iver, was put out into the world. It is a small set of nine songs that run by quickly, but the effect it has on you is anything but small and quick. Immediately after Justin Vernon saw his previous band, DeYarmond Edison, disband, he opted to go for the desolate area of Wisconsin, where he shacked up in a cabin with no one but himself to work with. At the time he arrived there, it was the most stifling part of the winter season, and for the next few months he progressively moved towards molding together all the emotions that can so easily get pushed away if we don’t insist they be exposed; and out of this dissection came the foundation for Emma. As soon as the sign of spring came it also signified the time to finally put these emotions in a recording, and for the next few months the final stages of fleshing out this miraculous debut were followed through.

Like all of music that you personally hold dear, it only accents the effect of it when you get the privilege of seeing the artist perform it live, and that’s exactly what I got to do earlier this summer. In the first half of August, I saw Bon Iver not once, but twice, as they opened for Wilco in Indianapolis, and then headlined a show just eight days later in Bloomington; which was, needless to say, quite the treat. Vernon’s voice is something that seems to only come along once in a great while, as it’s been frequently compared to Jeff Buckley’s, which it’s not out of line to consider him this generation’s choice for that recognition. There are a lot of beautiful instruments on the album, all of them used in the most subtle of ways, to keep a calm feel to add to the overall theme of lost, broken souls. This is certainly one of the top three most played albums in my entire collection for the year, for which it has benefited from being in rotation since the middle of February, giving me ten months to let it soak in, and soak in, and then soak some more. It’s a full experience, even for what appears to be a limited one by the short track listing and running time. “Re: Stacks” was simply the best closing track of the year, and one of the standouts of the decade.

2.Lump Sum
3.Skinny Love
4.The Wolves (Acts I and II)
6.Creature Fear
8.For Emma


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2 Responses to “My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #06”

  1. Elissa Says:

    I’m excited that this got so high. This is probably, in my opinion, second best album of 2008. I would probably even put it before Okkervil purely for the reason that I got completely burnt out on their new record. You’re lucky to have seen Justin play, something I’d like to treat myself to one day.

  2. Ferguson Says:

    I always knew this was one that would easily be in my 10 favorites of the year, the real question being exactly where it would land.

    You will see him one day, because something tells me Bon Iver will be around for a long time.

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