Bon Iver 

Bon Iver

As anyone tired of arguing with me in a bar will tell you, Bon Iver's "Skinny Love" was the best song of 2007. It captured what was great about For Emma, Forever Ago, whose simple arrangements and weirdo falsetto somehow made a breakup album fun to listen to. Justin Vernon recorded Emma in a cabin while possibly going crazy, yet he followed it up with the excellent Blood Bank EP and some high-profile collaborations with Kanye West. Frankly, it was a relief. After an extremely atmospheric debut album about being sad, Vernon seemed committed to writing songs.

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I have listened to Bon Iver's eponymous second LP a dozen times now, and I still can't remember what song comes next. It is vividly produced, and the discreet use of Auto-tune that began with Blood Bank smooths out the vocals in a way that complements Vernon's increasingly expansive sound. The whole album is so smooth, in fact, that it slips off you like rubbing alcohol, creating a distinct sensation before evaporating entirely. There is much Bon Iver here, but paradoxically few songs. Vernon has proven that he is more than a one-hit wonder. Now, about that next hit...

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