For Emma, Forever Ago

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2007 Ratings: #8 / 696
User Score
2007 Ratings: #6
Liked by 262 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
musicOMH

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

100
The Observer

For Emma, though only nine tracks long, is as beautiful, bleak and intimate as anything 2008 is likely to throw up.

100
Uncut

It operates so securely and intensely in its own world – a world of snow and silence and long-percolated memories – that to listen sometimes seem like an intrusive act.

91
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.

90
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. 

90
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.

81
Pitchfork

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.

80
Prefix

The strength is in Vernon’s ability to make a quiet, lonely album that is not boring. Nor is it easily placed into any one genre, unless it’s music recorded in rural Wisconsin cabins.

80
The Skinny

This is a recording as pure as the drifting snow which bedded its creator in, and a tender testament to a lonely soul crying into the darkness.

80
The Guardian

It revels in its sparseness, layering Vernon's high vocals and gentle guitar lines over and over like soft webs of regret.

80
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.

80
Sputnikmusic

With bolder steps, Bon Iver could become a voice for our generation worth getting excited over. For Emma already is.

80
The Fly

It’s timeless, anachronistic music that could have been around for centuries, just waiting to be discovered in the Wisconsin snow. Finally thawed out and brought to life, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

80
Spin

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.

80
AllMusic

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. 

80
Tiny Mix Tapes

Vernon’s ability to create sounds that can be felt but not described has produced a work that is both alien and deeply familiar upon first listen, exorcising the ghosts of a love that never quite left you.

79
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.

75
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.


 

70
Rolling Stone

For Emma, Forever Ago never turns into a pity party, because Vernon has a light touch, with zero interest in narrative or confessional lyrics.

70
PopMatters

Bon Iver mines fragile beauty from acoustic guitar, floating vocals, and low-fi recording.

nemgax
92

makes me want human contact -5 points

smallpeeble
98

this album illustrates one of the forms of sublimation. the weight of every tracks are undeniably cathartic.

Beeyyaahh
100

Isolation. At times it seems like the only way to get out and burn away your issues. When you’re alone, the only consultant is yourself. Depending on the context, that can be good or bad. It really depends on whether you’re in pain cause of yourself, or in pain because of what others brought upon you.

For Justin Vernon in the late 2000’s, it was just everything you could imagine going wrong. His band breaking up, his relationship with a partner breaking up, and his body ... read more

PrettyFly4ABiGy
99

This album really transports you into the album cover. It makes you feel like you're staying in the same cabin that the album was recorded in, like you're in the same room as Justin while he plays the songs for you. It feels cold, isolated, frigid, but at the same time cozy and homely.

sxmxxl
85

Rolling Stone's Top 500
#461
Wow, I feel this should rank way higher; what a unique experience. I usually have some resistance with folk albums in the first few listens, but even on the first one, this made me feel very fragile and connected to the record's atmosphere. I think that here and there the album gets a bit tiring instrumentally but it doesn't ruin anything.

Fav: Flume, Lump Sum, Skinny Love, Creature Fear
Least Fav: For Emma

midnights
85

added november 16, 2021

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Track List

1Flume
3:39
94
2Lump Sum
3:21
92
3Skinny Love
3:58
96
4The Wolves (Act I and II)
5:22
91
5Blindsided
5:29
91
6Creature Fear
3:06
89
7Team
1:56
84
8For Emma
3:40
95
9Re: Stacks
6:41
94
Total Length: 37 minutes
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