Few bands or solo artists today can make listeners feel as if they are the steady snowfall on Christmas Eve. Bon Iver; however, has this technique mastered
DeYarmond was the name of the band that lead singer and songwriter Justin Vernon played in before Bon Iver. Vernon played with high school friends, but after they relocated to North Carolina, everything had fallen apart.
Altmusic.com said Vernon felt out of place, so he broke up with his band, broke up with his girlfriend and headed back to his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. While searching for himself, naturally, he found haven in a log cabin in the woods where he wrote songs for months.
When Vernon left the cabin, he emerged with his first album called “For Emma, Forever Ago.” The album was released in 2008 and is filled with soft, haunting sounds.
“I crouch like a crow contrast with the snow for the agony I would rather know,” Vernon, in his song “Blindsided”, wrote.
His voice throughout the entirety of the album is beautiful. Vernon has a calm, yet powerful tone that can put anyone to sleep, but still make them think about their life at the same time.
“For Emma, Forever Ago” is full of heartbreak, which makes the album even more significant. Vernon puts his heart on the line for every song he writes and the extreme poetic words of his writing flow perfectly together.
“I was full by your count. Lost, but your fool. Was a long visit wrong?” Vernon sang in “Creature Fear.”
Most people, at least teenagers, are familiar of the song “Skinny Love” covered by Birdy. The cover of the song is beautiful, but the original is written by Bon Iver and comes packed with a sound no other artist can produce.
“Tell my love to wreck it all. Cut out all the ropes and let me fall,” Vernon hauntingly sings in “Skinny Love.”
The second album released is called “Blood Bank.” Released in 2009, the album is shorter and follows “For Emma, Forever Ago” almost perfectly.
Vernon competes with his own lyrics, writing the songs in “Blood Bank” even more powerfully than before. Some songs are open for any interpretation, but others are very black and white.
“When you are out, tell your lucky one to know that you will leave. Don’t you look when you’re fleeing. I’d like not to hear keys,” Vernon sang in “Beach Baby.”
The way he writes brings imagination to the listener, making them feel like they are in the situation or forcing them to relive a past experience all over again.
“And I said I knew it well, the secret that you know but don’t know how to tell,” Vernon sings in “Blood Bank.”
Sadly, the most recent album released by Bon Iver was “Bon Iver” in 2011. This album, thankfully, is much longer than the other two.
Vernon, again, does not disappoint listeners as he belts out ballads with the same, if not more, amount of power and relaxation. He writes songs about truth, but delivers them in such a way no other artist can.
“At once I knew I was not magnificent,” Vernon, in “Holocene”, sang. “High above the highway aisle, jagged vacance and thick with ice, I could see for miles, miles, miles.”
When listening to all three of the albums, the feeling of sorrow and happiness hits listeners like a tidal wave. If there was an award for most poetic song filled with powerful music in the background, Bon Iver, without question, would win.
Vernon sings in “Towers,” “Open ears and open eyes, wake up to your starboard bride who goes in and then stays inside. Oh the demons, they can subside.”