Dec 27 2007

Best Album of 2007: Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Published by at 4:16 pm under MP3's

Bon Iver is amazing. I have been meaning to write this post for several months, and am excited that it’s finally getting posted–this talented musician deserves the acclaim of everyone. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to start growing quickly in the music scene. If you are a fan of M. Ward, Iron & wine, or Ray LaMontagne, make sure to take a listen his music. Bon Iver’s acoustic strumming and unique and soulful vocals make listening to him therapeutic and pleasurable. His beautiful voice is an instrument in its own right. His thoughtful and poetic lyrics add so much more. I have no reservations saying that, in my opinion, this is the best album of 2007. I am willing to stand behind that. Listen to For Emma, Forever ago. Embrace it. You owe it not only to the music, but more importantly, yourself.

Justin Vernon is of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and is Bon Iver (French for good winter). Vernon moved to a remote cabin in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin at the onset of winter. Tailing from the swirling breakup of his long time band (DeYarmond Edison), he escaped to the property and surrounded himself with simple work, quiet, and space. He lived there alone for three months, filling his days with wood splitting and other chores around the land. This special time slowly began feeding a bold, uninhibited new musical focus.” Reveille Magazine interviewed Vernon, and asked him about the environment he made the album in.

I don’t think there’s any way I could have done it elsewhere. It’s been painted in the reviews of the record as this magical four months of hunkering down and writing a record. In reality I headed out to the cabin because I just didn’t know what to do next in my life. Once I got there though it just felt like all the blocks that I had put in my brain and heart in terms of musical expression started to loosen. They had been there for so long and the only thing that was able to loosen them up, and loosen me up, was having that much space. Not just the physical space, but also the emotional space, just being away from bandmates and old friends who know you so well. It was the first time I could really hear myself. I had my finger on the pulse of what was happening as it happened. Having the time and space allowed me to listen to my inner voice. When you’re in a city and constantly playing shows and are worried about how your band’s doing it’s too easy to get distracted.

 

Cabin where Vernon recorded For Emma, Forever Ago.

Vernon comes off as an extremely modest guy, and is taking the recognition he is starting to receive in stride. He released For Emma, Forever Ago independently, but is now signed to Jagjaguwar and the album will be re-released on Feb 19, 2008. I still consider it to be the best album of 2007, though. I posted an Amazon pre-order link below. If you like this music support Vernon. I already pre-ordered my copy. When I listen to this album, I visualize Vernon at his father’s cabin that winter. His music radiates warmness.

For Emma, Forever Ago (2007):

Bon Iver – Skinny Love

Site| Amazon Pre-order| Virb (stream full-length)| Myspace

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Best Album of 2007: Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago”

  1. Anonymouson 27 Dec 2007 at 6:32 pm

    why does everyone keep trying to sneek this in on their 07 best of list, when it won’t be released until 08.

  2. Davidon 27 Dec 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your feedback. I took what you are saying into consideration, but came to the conclusion that this is a 2007 release. A release is a release, and once music is released it can’t be released again. It can only be re-released. Vernon released this album on his own in 2007, so in my opinion, it is a 2007 release. If other people have included this on a “best of” list, they may have come to this same conclusion. If I’m mistaken about something please let me know. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to comment.

    Best regards,

    David

    Indie Muse

  3. JustaLaLaFanon 28 Dec 2007 at 8:16 am

    The answer to the 2007 vs. 2008 debate is found the comments I read about Bon Iver on some blog a month a go. Some Blogster said this CD is so good it is going on both his 2007 and 2008 list. I guess the proverbial bottom line is that the purpose of these “best of” list is to give the artist the recognition he/she/they deserves. By restricting it to 2007 when it had a very limited distribution (something like 500 copies–indeed the distribution of the self release stopped upon his signing to Jag) it penalizes the artist because it won’t see any realistic distribution until 2008). On the other hand by restricting it to 2008 it also penalizes the artist by acting as if the CD never existed. I vote to make it eligible for both years under these unique circumstances. Music is a dynamic force not to be fenced in by abstract constructs such as calendars. If it is subject to the arbitrariness of calendars then I am sure there is an arcane calendar that encompasses its artist release and label release in the same “year”.

    BTW-the original self release CD is bound to become a collector’s item. The original release was packaged in a stunning hand silk screened raw paper jacket. The CD has the same design on its face. If anybody has one they want to sell let me know.

  4. Davidon 28 Dec 2007 at 11:41 am

    JustaLaLaFan,

    I can’t agree with you more. I was speaking in the sense of why I would include this album in a best of list for 2007 when it is being released by Jag in February. I wasn’t focusing on the 2008 part, but believe that it should be on 2008 lists, as well. I don’t think I made that clear. As a side note, I realize it wasn’t widely distributed in 2007, but many people have also streamed the complete album on sites like Virb, and have found the album available for download around the net. In that regard, I believe more than 500 people have actually heard the album. I noticed sites like Pitchfork have already done a late October review of the album. I agree (but probably couldn’t have stated as eloquently:) that “Music is a dynamic force not to be fenced in by abstract constructs such as calendars.” This is a great album, and Bon Iver deserves recognition whether it’s 2007, 2008, or even 2009. Thank you for your thoughtful and informative post.

    David

  5. Jonkon 28 Dec 2007 at 3:05 pm

    It’s “Blindsided,” not “Blindsighted.” :-)

  6. Jonkon 28 Dec 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Also, I’ve had this album (self-released version) since July. It is most definitely 2007.

  7. Davidon 28 Dec 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Jonk,

    Haha, thanks for the correction. I have a tendency to mess up track names when posting. I think it’s because the uploading of the songs is the last step that I take, and I’m eager to get the posts up, but I should really be more careful, as it’s happened a few times. So.. are you one of the lucky 500 people who has the original album?

    David

  8. Davidon 28 Dec 2007 at 3:22 pm

    P.S. it’s a nice website you have there; I like your top 100 list. I am going to add jonkmusic.blogspot.com to my blogroll.

  9. Jonon 28 Dec 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Indeed, I do have an original copy — I guess I didn’t realize how valuable it might be until I visited indiemuse today. JustaLaLaFa is right: the packaging is great, and I was a bit disappointed to see that it will change with the re-release (although the new cover art does look neat).

    I’m from Eau Claire, Justin Vernon’s hometown. I saw Bon Iver open for The Rosebuds here in town in June and then I attended the “For Emma…” release party in July, also here in The Eau C.

    As you may know, Vernon befriended The Rosebuds while he was living in North Carolina. He produced some of their latest album and a touring member of the band this summer. Also opening for them was Land of Talk, and Vernon will be producing their full-length debut in ’08. This should be an interesting collaboration, since they really sound nothing like Bon Iver.

    Anonymous, this is definitely a 2007 release. I was at the “release party” ;-)

  10. Jonkon 28 Dec 2007 at 4:51 pm

    (Oops, forgot the k in my name)

  11. JustaLaLaFanon 28 Dec 2007 at 11:49 pm

    It was an MCI release in 2007 (friends and family) in Eau Claire in July. I was there too. This was local. The 2008 release will be national.

  12. […] Iver: As you may have seen, I recently wrote a post declaring For Emma, Forever Ago the best album of 2007. There were many great albums that came out […]

  13. Ryanon 19 Jun 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Who cares when it was released? Talk about missing the point…

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