Bon Iver, 'For Emma, Forever Ago' (Jagjaguwar)

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For Emma, Forever Ago
Critical Mass
Label: Jagjaguwar

by David Marchese

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon spent last winter holed up in rural Wisconsin with his guitars, some recording equipment, and a broken heart. When the snow melted, he returned with ten sparse, searching songs that gorgeously evoke the desolate beauty of those surroundings. 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. Play Emma when your fire burns low. It'll help keep you warm.

Now Hear This: Bon Iver, "Skinny Love" DOWNLOAD MP3

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