Nostalgia - the first word that comes to my mind while describing Bon Iver's second album. The band's name, being also the second album's title, is deriving from the French words 'bon hiver', simply meaning 'good winter', which is exactly the place where Bon Iver are trying to take us with their music. Personally, they send me back to when I was a little kid, looking out the window at snowflakes falling from the sky in the dark on a winter evening. This music seems to take us back home, to our childhood, too where we grew up, as home, is the place where Justin Vernon created this album, and clearly succeeded in conveying this warm feeling of belonging, back to us.
From the start to the end the album is deeply melancholic and the truly moving sounds combine to create songs filled with love and the dramatic lyrics, ooze with emotion: 'still alive for you, love, still alive for you, love, still alive for you, love' is still echoing in my mind, long after Justin Vernon finished singing 'Perth', the first song from the new album.
As much as I like and appreciate the album, I can't help but compare it to the first one. After the success of a debut, probably the most difficult thing for every artist is releasing the second album, and most importantly, meeting the expectations of the audience. As the self-titled album is supposed to be a follow up of 'For Emma, Forever Ago', it seems more like a remake. Listening to all two Bon Iver's albums one after another, I couldn't tell when 'For Emma, Forever Ago' finished and 'Bon Iver' started. Despite being called: 'ambitious music departure' from the first album, after listening to it, you find out this statement is not quite true. Hiring such excellent players like bass saxophonist Colin Stetson and pedal-steel guitarist Greg Leisz didn't really help either. 'I built the record myself, but I allowed those people to come in and change the scene'. As this might be an overstatement, I still highly recommend 'Bon Iver', as the beauty of music and lyrics makes the album definitely worth a listen.