Bon Iver - 22, A Million
Critic Score
Based on 40 reviews
2016 Ratings: #7 / 878
Year End Rank: #12
User Score
2016 Ratings: #49
Liked by 45 people
September 30, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Jagjaguwar / Label
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boniver.org / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Pretty Much Amazing

Not since Kid A has an album so superb pushed away and pulled closer its audience, simultaneously and with such aplomb.

100
Loud and Quiet
The obvious attraction here lies in admiring Vernon’s artistic skill, but the greater pleasure is in the album’s simple honesty: this is unmistakably the music Vernon felt he had to make – not self-pitying or even particularly sad, but still with an abstracted sense of longing that feels as universal as it does personal.
100
The Line of Best Fit
It's a record that feels challenging only on the surface: hidden behind its cryptic exterior is a generous and rewarding collection of songs that represent one of the most cohesive and affecting musical undertakings produced in recent years.
100
Sputnikmusic
One of the most important pieces of music you will hear this year.
100
NOW Magazine
Although the presentation has changed, the raw emotional power at the heart of Bon Iver is intact.
100
The Independent

The new album is a huge departure ... soaked in Vernon’s dalliances with hip-hop and subverting musical traditions at every opportunity. It clunks rather than strums. If Bon Iver’s earlier work evoked log fires, tall brush and the bite of cold air, this new material brings to mind concrete, live current and blinking strip lights.

95
The 405

With 22, A Million ... Justin Vernon shows that his greatest skill as a performer is not simply his ability to craft beautifully original music, but is found in his knack for seamless reinvention.

91
Consequence of Sound
Justin Vernon challenges listeners to accept a new, self-aware perspective, one delivered honestly and beautifully.
90
Clash
Yes, ‘22, A Million’ is painfully, painfully sincere. Yes, it’s also hopelessly oblique, grandiose, and pretentious. Yet it’s also an absolute diamond of a record, at once fragrantly beautifully and also hopelessly complex, easy to disregard and yet thoroughly hypnotic.
90
Exclaim!

22, A Million isn't a game-changer ... Yet in the context of Bon Iver, it's an emphatic step forward, a gorgeous album that, rather than running from it, reflects our fractured world back at us.

90
Pitchfork
Bon Iver’s first album in five years takes an unexpected turn toward the strange and experimental. But behind the arranged glitches and processed voices are deeply felt songs about uncertainty.
90
Drowned in Sound

22, A Million, when you take the time to truly unearth it, may well be the warmest work of his career.

90
musicOMH

After a few plays, 22, A Million begins to make a beautiful kind of sense. It’s the natural evolution of Vernon’s sound, back from when he experimented with a vocoder on the final track on the Blood Bank EP, Woods. And the songs themselves, once they’re stripped of all the vocal trickery, are as heartbreaking as ever.

90
FasterLouder
Nothing seems incidental: every subtle blemish, nuance and microscopic crack is an indispensable part of a meticulously crafted chaos.
90
No Ripcord

These songs are chaotic, unexpected and jarring. Samples, vocoders, and shambling synths crash together in an unstructured soundscape. But if you listen through the anarchy, you will find a stirring, masterful odyssey.

90
God Is in the TV

It’s an otherwordly record made up of textures of distorted samples, soaked in vocoder, each track a dense fog.

90
Northern Transmissions

22, A Million is a progressive and standalone album full of deep emotions and clever ingenuity.

88
Paste

If it seemed incongruous that Justin Vernon was rolling with Kanye West on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010 and Yeezus in 2013, Vernon’s new LP as Bon Iver shows that the indie-folk singer and megastar rapper are, in many ways, kindred spirits.

83
A.V. Club
This is a wildly informed album, and that also works to its advantage.
81
GIGsoup

’22, A Million’ sees Bon Iver exploring and collating new sounds so beautifully while also remaining true to Vernon’s core as an artist and individual.

80
Slant Magazine

22, A Million synthesizes archaic and future styles—or, rather, organic and synthetic sounds—to address and remedy the ailments of the present.

80
NME
This is a febrile folktronica album which confounds and astounds in equal measure, melting your heart one minute and agitating your eardrums the next, but always baffling and beautiful.
80
DIY
‘22, A Million’ stands out as Bon Iver’s finest moment yet, a cross between invention and beauty that’s delivered without compromise.
80
Rolling Stone

With his long-awaited third album, Vernon completely breaks from his guitar-hugging persona, leaving it in the woods like a Coen brothers corpse as he flexes a mastery of processed vocals, samples, loops, beats, synths and noise, along with more familiar trappings.

80
The Guardian

His music has always had what you might call its Kid A side. His third album represents the point where the thinking behind something like 2009’s Babys, an abstract assemblage of keening harmonies, icy electronics and crashing cymbals, takes over his music completely.

80
AllMusic

It's an impressive feat of reinvention that manages to keep Vernon's emotional core fully intact no matter how far the music strays from established Bon Iver territory.

80
Under The Radar

As with his work that precedes it, the impact of Vernon's 22, A Million far outlasts that moment when the record stops playing. What Bon Iver manages to do in barely 34-minutes, other artists often cannot do in a career.

80
American Songwriter
Though the methods might be unconventional, the emotions expressed are still riveting.
80
Tiny Mix Tapes

22, A Million is the band’s most impressive record to date, surging forward with oddities that, while certainly nothing new to adventurous listeners, bridge the gap with satisfaction.

80
PopMatters
With this album, Justin Vernon and Bon Iver have made an attempt at rebuilding their little boat into a massive, complicated, and intensely modern ship.
80
The Telegraph

He sings with the sad weight of a man who has survived a dark night of the soul, filling his opaque songs with transcendent emotion and other-worldly beauty that can make you feel foolish for even questioning what it could possibly all mean.

80
Dork

A succinct record of compressed and distorted ventures into folk, atmospheric electronica and blues.

80
The Arts Desk

It may be doomed to be the drifting soundtrack to many a hipster coffee shop afternoon but listen closely and 22, A Million is subtle, weird and compelling – a brief, beautiful hallucination.

75
Entertainment Weekly

Banjos and atmospheric drums collide with heaving synths and discordant saxes throughout, sometimes yielding cuts more notable for their experimentation than their pop pleasures.

75
Spectrum Culture

The album dares you to come closer, to peer into its depths and figure it out. But in the end, there may not be anything to figure out.

70
FLOOD Magazine

22, A Million is a gorgeous victory and a righteous revival of a talent that for a moment was only best displayed on records by Kanye West.

70
The Sydney Morning Herald
For unsure fans, Vernon's touchstones of emotions tapped are the constant through the Bon Iver recordings so far, even here. For those dreading repetition, you can approach with more confidence.
60
The Observer

The flashes of brilliance in Justin Vernon’s dark night of the soul are frustratingly few on his cryptic, effects-laden third album.

50
The Needle Drop
Bon Iver returns with an attempt at fusing glitchy electronics and indie folk balladry.
6
The best thing Bon Iver has ever done. 6/100.
TreyLikesBands
100
A preface, before the pretentiousness:
I sound overtly-fancy in this entire review, not only because this record's material is just so opaque that I think it needs this type of analysis and wording, but the record itself is also pretentious. For that, I do apologize. However, this was the hardest thing I've ever had to write. Over the course of two months, I've tried my hardest to collect and control my thoughts on this brilliantly fascinating experience. These have been difficult, gripping, ... read more
MarkCooper
91
Original Score: 87

1. I'm thinking this album will be one of the main pieces of music that influences a whole new group of musicians to come. One of those albums that, after some research of your favorite artists' influences, you find out a hell of a lot of them listened to this, and were struck by it, serving as a major landmark in their relationship with music.
2. Even if the production style isn't your thing, it's completely new, obtuse, and brave as hell for an artist in his pocket and ... read more
ElectricMess
78
I prefer Vernon's voice when it's drenched in autotune if I'm being completely honest
musicmagpie55
93
Bon Iver's most experimental album is also their most engaging. By the time this album rolled out, we all knew what a Bon Iver song sounded like. The goal was to obliterate that expectation while making songs that still swelled with beauty. Like the song titles indicate, Vernon created music constructed from the signs of our everyday experience but reorganized them into fantastic new shapes. The album successfully presented new modes of intimacy and beauty that felt paradoxically new and ... read more
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Track List

  1. 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
  2. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄
  3. 715 - CR∑∑KS
  4. 33 “GOD”
  5. 29 #Strafford APTS
  6. 666 ʇ
  7. 21 M◊◊N WATER
  8. 8 (circle)
  9. ____45_____
  10. 00000 Million
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Added on: August 12, 2016