For Emma, Forever Ago
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Critic Score
Based on 19 reviews
2008 Ratings: #9 / 726
Year End Rank: #6
User Score
Based on 535 ratings
2008 Ratings: #2
February 19, 2008 / Release Date
LP / Format
Jagjaguwar / Label
Justin Vernon / Producer / Website
Your Review



Lyrically, Vernon is revealed as something of a poet. These are words that are destined to be poured over and analysed

A.V. Club

The album evocatively conjures the loneliness of a long northern winter, placing Vernon's lovely songs in a distant, blurred vacuum of physical and emotional isolation.

Drowned in Sound

Although comprising only nine songs spread over less than forty minutes, For Emma, Forever Ago is one of the most captivating collections these ears have heard for some time. 

No Ripcord

These songs are raw, bold and slightly uncomfortable, but at the same time authentic and therefore extremely special, like the offspring of creativity and isolation at their most fruitful.


Vernon gives a soulful performance full of intuitive swells and fades, his phrasing and pronunciation making his voice as much a purely sonic instrument as his guitar.


For Emma captures the sound of broken and quiet isolation, wraps it in a beautiful package, and delivers it to your door with a beating, bruised heart. 


Vernon’s voice — delicately layered and yearning — gives standouts “Skinny Love” and “Flume” their stunningly direct emotional impact, but his sturdy folk chords, earthy melodies, and plainspoken, pastoral lyrics prevent the album from descending into self-pity.

NOW Magazine

Though the songs are generally the same – minimalist guitar, a lot of vocals, almost no percussion – it’s the brilliant verse hooks of Flame or the vocal-busting choruses of Skinny Love that make this record.

Coke Machine Glow

For Emma, Forever Ago demonstrates the transformative power an artist wields over his environment. It's a record about space just as much as it seeks to trap and make surrounding space its own, to imbue itself with the personality that exists between notes.

The 405

For Emma, Forever Ago can quite easily be compared to being dropped in the middle of the forest with no directions back home. Put simply it sounds a lot like isolation.


Mar 29, 2016
This is a one-of-a-kind record. Never thought pop songs (technically) could make ya feel so alone and isolated. An album that deserves to be listened to in one sitting, yet the single-song playback value on it is amazing. Really weird in a good way how it got so big.
Oct 7, 2015
justin vernon has something about him. he has an impeccable voice, and his production quality is at the top. the instrumentals give some of the slower lyrics and upbeat vibe, and creates something very special. vernon's projects have been very entertaining in my opinion, i have yet to be disappointed by him. the folk-pop theme he has is appealing and makes his projects friendly to listeners that are interested in other genres
fav tracks: skinny love, the wolves, for emma
Jul 5, 2014
A very sincere folk album with some honest lyrics and solid songwriting. However, I feel that the instrumentation just doesn't compliment the songs to their fullest.

Favourite tracks: Re Stacks, Flume, For Emma, Blindsided, Lump Sum
Dec 12, 2016
The story behind this makes it that much better. Understanding Bon Iver and his nature and heart, start here.

Fav Tracks; Flume, Blindsided, Re. Stacks
Oct 30, 2016
<3 emma
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