For Emma, Forever Ago | Bon Iver | 2008 | Self-released | #364
This folk, acoustic, falsetto breakup album is the product of a catharsis during which a young, depressed male isolates himself in a wintry, remote Wisconsin cabin where he hunts and eats deer for sustenance and writes songs on his Mac.
I had more fun learning of the creation story and writing that paragraph than I did listening to the album. It’s not even that bad really, it just didn’t invoke anything appreciable for any significant amount of time. While the album is playing it kinda drifts around in your head and it’s all very pleasant but then it ends and all I was inspired to do was to go and make a cup of tea.
I don’t think it’s a case of me not getting it, either. It’s obvious that this is an album about Justin Vernon’s loss and subsequent loneliness – the mood of the album definitely reflects that – and I even feel like I started to appreciate some of his frustration in “Skinny Love” which feels a bit more percussive and animated compared to the other tracks. But I had to listen to the album 6 times (according to Winamp play count) in order to get even that much out of it.
In terms of appreciating this album, it’s not enough for me to just recognise its emotions and to feel like I understand the place it’s coming from. Because there are other albums even in this genre that are much more effective at getting me there and less likely to bore me whilst doing it.