- Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Based on 28 reviews
2011 Rank: #5 / 871
Based on
511 ratings

Apple Music


The Skinny

In facing great expectations, Vernon has simply turned and walked away from the legacy of his debut; rather than attempt to emulate the intimate cabin fever of that album, he has crafted an expansive and ambitious piece – a compelling listen from start to finish.

The Guardian

Whether exploring supple R&B in Minnesota, WI, joyful country in Towers, or swollen soft-rock in Beth/Rest, Bon Iver remains rooted in the emotional sincerity that made Vernon's debut so mesmerising.

NOW Magazine

The 10 unconventionally structured songs are less shaky-tent-in-a-snowstorm and more ambitious-skyscraper-blasting-into-the sky.


After the closeness and austerity of For Emma, Vernon has given us a knotty record that resists easy interpretation but is no less warm or welcoming.

A.V. Club

For all its introspection, Bon Iver feels a lot more open than Vernon’s previous work, the sound of a lonely guy taking his first steps into a larger world.

Pretty Much Amazing

As Vernon himself admits, this record is a sounds-first album, leading with the how rather than the what. While not a complete sea change, it’s a new approach for Vernon, who finds his Bon Iver project graced with both the tools and the audience for such an approach.

Entertainment Weekly

An emboldened Vernon achieves a beautiful fantasy all his own, backed by a full band and buoyed with horns and pedal steel.


It retains the beautiful melancholy of For Emma, but in nearly every way, it’s just more. More layered, more diverse, more interesting.

Consequence of Sound

The album is a shoo-in for being a timeless great, no matter what we say.

Beats Per Minute

It’s a rich and intricate collage that shows restraint in its cascade of ideas as well as Vernon’s maturity as a songwriter.


Those who approach Bon Iver with open minds and open ears will with repeated listens find that Vernon has not strayed too far from his original raison d'etre.


Vernon re-accesses that potent sense of self on Bon Iver, a stunning sophomore set whose landscape-painting cover art underscores the idea that his songs inhabit their own psychological space.

Drowned in Sound

Justin Vernon and his crew have changed things up here for sure, but the results are every bit as beautiful as you might expect.

Tiny Mix Tapes

It is undeniably an album about “growth,” and it has a way of pushing you out of your comfort zone.

No Ripcord

Bon Iver embarks on a sustainable new direction for the band and is evidence of a successful transition from one-off wonder to durable outfit.

Under The Radar

It's a logical progression from Emma, and one that few artists have been able to make. Most try to return to their wallowing, to mine the same material that connected them with their audience in the first place. But Vernon deserves tremendous credit for wanting to express his hope and his joy.

American Songwriter

Vernon’s taken the ingredients that made For Emma transcend its bedroom folkie origins and fly – the hushed, multi-tracked falsetto vocals, the indelible melodies, the evocative, heartbroken lyrics – and expanded upon them.

Slant Magazine

For much of Bon Iver, Vernon takes his cues from Volcano Choir, using an array of disparate instrumentation and looping effects to beautifully eerie effect.


It makes these ten tracks slightly less immediate, but just as moving. A wonderful, worthy follow-up.

Alternative Press

The project is no longer shackled to the minimal, one-man strum of For Emma, but it's all the more beautiful and heart-rending. 

The 405

It is still a very good album, with some pretty songs, but it lacks For Emma, Forever Ago's sense of balance – of completeness.


Those looking for the raw catharsis of ‘For Emma…’ will need to cop their misery fix elsewhere – ‘Bon Iver’ is the sound of a man making peace with the world, saxophones and all.

Rolling Stone

The ideas on Bon Iver — Colin Stetson's shimmery horn parts, Rob Moose's elegant arrangements — are engaging even when they don't lead anywhere, and the music is beautiful, even when it veers into schmaltz.


Despite its hype, its expectations, its blown up sound, and its many production flourishes, Bon Iver is nothing more than a solid placeholder album.


Though he can be praised for not just copying himself and trying to progress, to be honest, For Emma, Pt. 2 would have been far more satisfying than this overblown debacle.

Every single song is a masterpiece and unique. Justin Vernon's voice is so unique and so defined. I always come back to this album because it is the best when it comes to albums as a whole. Every song has a story also that YOU as the listener can create. You take what you are hearing, and make it your own. The best ones for me is Wash, Halocene, and Towers.
Gorgeous album. On some level this isn't so removed from the pure folk music of his debut, but Bon Iver subtly expands his sonic offerings, creating a surprisingly ambitious album that erases any concerns about falling short of "For Emma." "Holocene" should go down as an indie classic.
I don't usually listen to this kind of folk music stuff, but this was pure magic. I've barely been this moved by music before. Awesome, awesome stuff.

Best Songs: Perth, Minnesota WI, Holocene, Michicant, Wash., Beth/Rest

Worst Songs: Hinnom TX
This easily is one of the most hyped up records of this decade. I went into this thing expecting something wonderful, but left feeling sort of cheated. It starts off with three very solid opening tracks, with Perth and Holocene being possibly the two best cuts off the record, both of which are stunning, but all that follows is just mediocrity. If you go into this with little to no expectations, maybe you'll like it more than I did.
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# 3 - A.V. Club
# 2 - Amazon
# 15 - American Songwriter
# 9 - BBC
# 7 - Bigger Than The Sound
# 2 - Billboard
# 26 - Clash
# 2 - Consequence of Sound
# 11 - DIY
# 12 - Drowned in Sound
# 2 - FILTER
# 13 - MAGNET
# 16 - MOJO
# 5 - musicOMH
# 46 - NME
# 6 - No Ripcord
# 37 - Obscure Sound
# 20 - One Thirty BPM
# 1 - Paste
# 9 - Pazz and Jop
# 1 - Pitchfork
# 2 - PopMatters
# 8 - Prefix
# 4 - Pretty Much Amazing
# 4 - Q Magazine
# 21 - Rolling Stone
# 7 - Slant
# 14 - SPIN
# 8 - Spinner
# 3 - Stereogum
# 17 - The Fly
# 5 - The Guardian
# 18 - The Line of Best Fit
# 9 - Uncut
# 3 - Under the Radar
# 2 - Urban Outfitters
Track List
  1. Perth 
  2. Minnesota, WI 
  3. Holocene 
  4. Towers 
  5. Michicant 
  6. Hinnom, TX 
  7. Wash. 
  8. Calgary 
  9. Lisbon, OH 
  10. Beth/Rest