Bon Iver - i,i
Critic Score
Based on 41 reviews
2019 Ratings: #104 / 805
Year End Rank: #22
User Score
2019 Rank: #227
Liked by 188 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Albumism
With Bon Iver, the more things change, the more things stay the same. They’re still intimate and enigmatic at the same time. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
100
NME
Bon Iver has pieced together this fourth album in an impossibly intelligent way.
100
The Observer

Bon Iver have imperceptibly moved from requesting close listening to requiring it, and i,i spins a mesmerising web of superficially insubstantial yet intensely majestic music.

100
Consequence of Sound

i,i is a mature masterpiece and a stunning marriage of ambition and technique.

100
DIY

Bon Iver have bestowed experience to craft an emotional tour-de-force that displays an unparalleled understanding of the power of music.

91
Entertainment Weekly

Bon Iver’s fourth full-length, i,i, feels as confident as anything he’s ever done: a dense, richly layered showcase for his continued aversion to the standard rules of grammar and the deepening of his defiantly uncommercial sound.

91
GIGsoup

You’ll want to spend another eighty minutes or more, listening to, breathing in, warming up, and getting comforted by the smooth sounds of the genius that is Bon Iver. This release is the band at their finest.

90
Uncut
As stylistically adventurous and technologically innovative as the album is, this community of musicians ensures it remains accessible and soulful.
90
Loud and Quiet

The punctuation that served prismatic purpose on 22, A Million is looking backwards on i,i, filling in the gaps of a catalogue that has quietly engrained itself in the canon of independent music, but still plays with the inquisitiveness and freedom of cats in the nighttime.

90
Exclaim!
Granted, this record isn't as immediate as other Bon Iver works; it takes a little longer to reveal itself and fully take shape. But given the time to settle into the mind, it's rich and endlessly rewarding.
90
American Songwriter

He is making music that, far from being strange, is actually as inviting as anything he has ever done.

90
FLOOD Magazine

Central to it all ... is a Justin Vernon with an altered disposition, more confident and looser—at times, he even sounds content, miles beyond the heartbroken For Emma solitude.

90
Spill Magazine

Throughout all of Bon Iver’s music, Vernon’s voice is the core. In this aspect, i,i is no different than any other Bon Iver album. Yet it is the culmination of all the various voices that Vernon has employed throughout his musical career that makes this album special.

90
Gigwise

There’s a warmth to the album overall, delicately balanced with vulnerability, making it equal parts comforting and heartbreaking.

88
Pitchfork
On his fourth album, Justin Vernon reassembles the familiar Bon Iver elements like a cubist collage, with his voice fearlessly front and center. The result is his most honest and forthright music ever.
85
Northern Transmissions
It would seem Vernon and co are completely untethered from pressures and barriers; ‘i,i’ is the true sound of creative freedom.
82
Sputnikmusic

This tricky, fickle, strange dedication to emotional progress is what defines Bon Iver, makes them so uniquely, irrefutably human, and so goddamn touching even when you can't understand what a single lyric means.

80
The Telegraph

There is a tangible sense of joy in performance, although with no greater clarity of lyrical expression.

80
The Young Folks
Maybe it’s that wonderful sense of collaboration both literal and figurative, the open wound that is Vernon’s persistent anxieties that allows the music to, once again, transcend the words pouring, bellowing from the singer’s mouth.
80
Spectrum Culture

It’s in sitting with i,i that the album truly blossoms and reveals itself as Bon Iver’s most idealized work.

80
Mojo

i,i never sounds less than excellent, with wide-open acoustic/electric audio structures allowing pizzicato strings to waft through and rising clouds of horns to blow in unexpectedly. It really is bleeding edge stuff.

80
Slant Magazine
The album finds Justin Vernon creeping into an autumnal melancholy and turning his gaze back toward winter.
80
Clash
This is a sound of a warm, human futurism. A record that feels impressionistic and abstract, dominated more by feeling than theme.
80
The Arts Desk
It’s not perfect – there’s a bit too much parpy sax noodling and some of the songs are over before they’ve begun, but fans from all eras and incarnations of Bon Iver should find something to enjoy here.
80
No Ripcord

If 22, A Million could come off as sometimes cold and always anxious, then i,i is the warm flipside, with songs that float and flutter, that call for resilience rather than resignation.

80
Q Magazine

Vernon is an expert curator of his emotions, even if i,i needs to let a little more air in under the glass at times.

80
Tiny Mix Tapes

It plays like a collection of first-draft Psalms for a congregation at a Crossroads, or perhaps one persistently and violently driven toward the edge of the World as we know it.

79
Paste

If you have the patience to drill deep enough into i,i, the bright spots are incandescent.

70
The Sydney Morning Herald

i,i brings all his incarnations together. Glitchiness and lushness are bedfellows here.

70
Rolling Stone
Conjuring dread and hopefulness, Justin Vernon blends electronic and acoustic elements into a soulful, kaleidoscopic whole.
70
The Line of Best Fit

This is an album that you can feel as well as experience, perhaps the most complete Bon Iver album to date. Justin Vernon’s emotive approach to the album balances the individual and the communal with perfect precision.

70
Under the Radar

He's always taking a big swing. That alone is worth celebrating, but when he hits the mix right on i,i, all of these high-minded thoughts go out the window, and Bon Iver rises to something truly inspiring.

60
The Irish Times
These are meandering songs that unwind over time, like a bonfire gradually dissipating or a forest slowly losing its foliage. Those prone to hyperbole have already erroneously declared him as a visionary, a legend of his time. For everyone else, it’s going to take a bit more convincing than this album.
60
The Needle Drop

i,i is in a sense a refinement of 22, A Million's innovations, but Justin Vernon still doesn't seem particularly interested in tying up his songs' loose ends.

60
The Independent

You can let i,i overwhelm you or sink into its currents of drift and despondency – either way, it is immersive and rich. Yet it’s hard not to anticipate certain peaks (the unimpeachable climax of “Holyfields,” the joyfully silly “Sh’Diah” chorus) as if waiting for the school bell to ring.

60
The 405
For the first time, Bon Iver have produced an album seemingly without stakes. There is no grand intent, no new, lofty goal. The band are simply gathered and doing the things they know well.
60
PopMatters
Justin Vernon's (Bon Iver) lyricism is as cryptic as ever, but the firmness with which he sings his abstractions robs his fourth album of much of its mystery.
50
AllMusic

I,I takes many mighty swings and at best knocks out a few infield hits, while striking out far too often.

50
musicOMH

Justin Vernon has succumbed to his most inane impulses – and released a selection of unseasoned, lightly scented pleasantries that neither hit or miss. They just are.

40
The Guardian

Justin Vernon has been building Bon Iver into an artistic commune of shared ideals – but loses his way in a fog of weak melodies and bad poetry.

mehercanthuman
92

Guardian you dumb bitch

Edit: I don’t know why people are talking about 22,AM a million as a glitch in the BI discography when it felt like such a natural turn for the band to take. Such a masterpiece.

i,i is definitely not as experimental and brave as 22,AM but it is surely a worthy worthy addition to Vernons legacy.

musicmagpie55
85

Bon Iver's epic conclusion to his seasonal album cycle finds Justin Vernon finally filling the deep crater he carved out years ago. What makes this album so satisfying is the emotional and sonic growth of Vernon over four albums. Bon Iver used to be one guy in a cabin in Wisconsin singing about his ailing life. Now, a community joins Vernon, producing an incredible record that reflects fondly on Bon Iver's best characteristics while never reverting to past ideas. It's not that the anxieties ... read more

heyizlan
94

Justin Vernon has always been one to hide himself and his emotions in his music. From the surrealist world he created in 2011's "Bon Iver, Bon Iver", to 2016's innovative, glitchy masterpiece, "22, A Million", where he hides behind the masks of The Messina and auto-tune. On his latest effort, however, Vernon isn't hiding behind the mask of machines, as he takes the various sounds of Bon Iver from over the years and reconstructs them, creating a complex, layered LP that ... read more

mangey
70

very gorgeous and atmospheric nice vocals and really nice lyrics especially in a track like hey ma faith and naeem very beautiful and in a they are very calming and the outro Rabi is honestly such a perfect way to conclude the album nice and soft now lets get to the tracks i'm not too fond of U(Man Like) and Salem and Sh'Diah i feel like they aren't as good as the other tracks
FAVORITES: hey ma, iMi and We

postcimntuj
73

Bon Iver made a massive decision in their sound last album, as they’ve moved away from the chamber pop/folk music to more folktronica/art pop style. I really liked this shift in 22, A Million and it was one of my favorite albums from them. Here, they attempt to do the same thing, but this time it feels sort of like a jumbled mess, which in itself isn’t bad, but it’s very conspicuous. A lot of these songs can seem a little unfinished or not as polished as their last record. ... read more

lucasbarnts
NR

I used to think this was better than 22, but having listened to it again, it's a lot more repetitive and boring. Very drawn out. Still, the experimentation and creative instrumentation is a trip, and worth a listen.

Best track: "Hey, Ma"

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Track List

1Yi
0:31
68
2iMi
3:16
86
3We
2:22
78
4Holyfields,
3:07
79
5Hey, Ma
3:36
88
6U (Man Like)
2:25
81
7Naeem
4:22
85
8Jelmore
2:30
77
9Faith
3:37
87
10Marion
2:21
77
11Salem
3:44
85
12Sh'Diah
4:11
85
13RABi
3:32
79
Total Length: 39 minutes
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Added on: July 11, 2019