Bon Iver - i,i
Critic Score
Based on 32 reviews
2019 Ratings: #101 / 625
Year End Rank: #25
User Score
Based on 928 ratings
2019 Ratings: #215
August 9, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
Jagjaguwar / Label
Art Pop / Genres
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boniver.org / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
NME
Bon Iver has pieced together this fourth album in an impossibly intelligent way.
100
DIY

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

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.

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
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
American Songwriter

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

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
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
Clash
This is a sound of a warm, human futurism. A record that feels impressionistic and abstract, dominated more by feeling than theme.
80
Slant Magazine
The album finds Justin Vernon creeping into an autumnal melancholy and turning his gaze back toward winter.
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
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
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 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.

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

50
AllMusic

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

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.
okcomputer12127
54
Bon Iver's 4th album comes right after his highly expiermental 3rd album '22, A Million' which has some of his best work on there, so when I heard this album was coming out soon, you know your boy was excited. The first song 'iMi' is a very descriptive and personal piece by him. The vocals and atmosphere reminds me of Sufjan Stevens 6th album 'The Age of Adz'. The 2nd song 'We' is one of the shortest and most boring pieces that Bon Iver has made in a long time. Though the ambients at the end ... read more
ThrowBackG
59
Yes, it is fair to compare this to James Blake's debut in the same way it was fair to compare '22, A Million' to Radiohead's 'Kid A' back in 2016. However, it lacks the emotional gruffness of it's inspiration which thrived in solitary confinement. You could make the argument that's not the direction 'i,i' is going for, in which I'd agree, but if so then it has the tendancy of being pretty aimless otherwise. The performances are top notch, as they always are with Bon Iver, but it's also too ... read more
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
MY FIRST REACTION:

LMAO WTF IS UP WITH GUARDIAN. lemme just say, this is exactly what you'd expect from Vernon if you've been paying attention to his recent work with Big Red Machine as well as with 22, A Million. It's not as experimental and quirky as 22 was, but its not as dull as Big Red Machine was. It's at that sweet spot in between being too safe and too experimental. Amazing work from Justin as usual. I guess if i could describe the LP in 1 word it would be "blissful". It had ... read more
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Track List

  1. Yi
  2. iMi
  3. We
  4. Holyfields,
  5. Hey, Ma
  6. U (Man Like)
  7. Naeem
  8. Jelmore
  9. Faith
  10. Marion
  11. Salem
  12. Sh'Diah
  13. RABi
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Added on: July 11, 2019