User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 227 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 227

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  1. Jun 21, 2011
    5
    My bottom line: I can't back Vernon's Kenny G moment. And Minnesota - WI is the only really tasty track on the disc.

    Two things that are similar between this and Emma (which is my album of 2008) - There are no crazy acrobatic melodies, no avant-garde chords, it's all kept pretty nice and simple. The difference between them is that Emma sort of floats above your head like a sepia-tone
    My bottom line: I can't back Vernon's Kenny G moment. And Minnesota - WI is the only really tasty track on the disc.

    Two things that are similar between this and Emma (which is my album of 2008) - There are no crazy acrobatic melodies, no avant-garde chords, it's all kept pretty nice and simple. The difference between them is that Emma sort of floats above your head like a sepia-tone dream, while Bon Iver sinks into an icy lake of crystalline-timbre instrumentation. For me, Bon Iver's tasty, tangible creativity couldn't keep up with his inevitable sonic shift.

    Three things:

    Most of those critics have no idea what they're talking about, chasing some x-factor around the grooves in order to back the guy that made us cry with Emma.

    I love Minnesota - WI. It's the most invitingly textured track. And it avoids the miserably executed pastel horns. If one thing could turn the crank a little harder, it would be a bit of extra bass when the verse comes back in with the crunchy synth.

    Beth/Rest - In a popular music season where 70s/80s throwback grooves seem to be finding all of my favourite artists (mostly to great effect), this one stands alone as the most audacious and the most embarrassingly terrible. Don't try to pin naivete on me - the e. piano is only the cherry on top. A tip, Justin - when your fingers touch a piano, they invoke the most cliched of cliches. The sus releases, in particular, are enough to make me cringe. Horns in the wrong places, pedal steel crying for the wrong reasons...

    So, you took a big risk and it didn't work out for me. Better than being a banal fool. I will wait three more years if I have to to get your next record.
    Collapse
  2. Jun 21, 2011
    4
    Some of the instrumentation is cool and the singing has some decent hooks. But after a couple songs, his white boys soul thing starts to grate, and god damn if Beth/Rest isn't the worst, cheesiest song of the year.
  3. Jun 21, 2011
    5
    This sounds like an amalgamation of yacht rock, folk, and James Blake but with none of the positives of any of 'em. There's no experimentation. There's no hooks. It's good enough to not want to turn off once it's on, but it's not good enough to actively want to listen to. It's easy listening that goes nowhere
  4. Jul 3, 2011
    4
    I have decided after all these years of following metacritic to join the user review group. I must listen to a new cd every week. My drug is music .The reason to join this group of reviewers is because of Bon Iver. I tried many times to listen and understand this cd but no luck. Its just simply over rated and maybe its the voice but I just don't understand him. The music is very good butI have decided after all these years of following metacritic to join the user review group. I must listen to a new cd every week. My drug is music .The reason to join this group of reviewers is because of Bon Iver. I tried many times to listen and understand this cd but no luck. Its just simply over rated and maybe its the voice but I just don't understand him. The music is very good but I will give them a chance to listen to this group live , how could everyone be wrong maybe live they sound better.....Puzzled Expand
  5. Jul 14, 2011
    5
    In a word- it's boring. It has its moments, like "Skinny Love," a track that actually features some loud/soft dynamics, but the rest is just too monotone. The man makes it clear that he's been hurt and for a little while, makes you care. Unfortunately, while listening to this album, I kept waiting for so many of the tracks to actually go somewhere, and they hardly ever did. If you are aIn a word- it's boring. It has its moments, like "Skinny Love," a track that actually features some loud/soft dynamics, but the rest is just too monotone. The man makes it clear that he's been hurt and for a little while, makes you care. Unfortunately, while listening to this album, I kept waiting for so many of the tracks to actually go somewhere, and they hardly ever did. If you are a fan of the "one man playing an acoustic guitar softly" genre (think Iron & Wine's earlier albums), you may well love this as many others like you have. Otherwise, you will find this to be overhyped and disappointing. Expand
  6. Jul 5, 2011
    5
    I really don't think I've ever had so many mixed feelings about an album before. One one hand, all the songs sound kinda the same. But on the other hand, all the songs are pretty good. Now I'm the kinda guy who can't stand artists whose songs all sound the same. But they're all pretty alright songs. I
    'm just glad this is my biggest stress factor right now...
  7. Jan 12, 2012
    5
    I don't get the fuss-over about this album. Seriously, it might have folk-based songs and good lyrics, but the last time I checked this mix wasn't supposed to become so boring. It has not a compelling theme like their debut, and Vernom's turned the weakness in a fake bravery. I hope they improve the results they had in this album.
  8. Jan 30, 2013
    5
    As a separate album from For Emma, this really is a decent album. It has a nice, pretty sound, and has some cool instrumentation. But in comparison to For Emma, it is a slap in the face for me. Rather than than just Vernon armed with only his guitar, he brings in a dozen other people to completely change the record. It feels sloppy, overdone, and an act of shark jumping. This record isAs a separate album from For Emma, this really is a decent album. It has a nice, pretty sound, and has some cool instrumentation. But in comparison to For Emma, it is a slap in the face for me. Rather than than just Vernon armed with only his guitar, he brings in a dozen other people to completely change the record. It feels sloppy, overdone, and an act of shark jumping. This record is just too forced, it lacks the heart that For Emma had. Expand
  9. May 30, 2015
    6
    While it represents a new musical direction for Bon Iver, I feel that it was a mistake, changing most of the good aspects from the band's previous two albums into an over-produced mess.
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. 90
    Bon Iver sounds distinctively matured and alive on Bon Iver: an album that even still, in the late winter, months after its release sounds magical.
  2. Sep 9, 2011
    90
    In an industry flooded with trumpeted artists not worth their weight in salt, Bon Iver's abstract ruminations more than warrant the hype.
  3. Aug 3, 2011
    90
    Akin to For Emma, Bon Iver breaks the listener's heart. And to experience an album (an oft-dreaded sophomore album, no less) that evokes such deep emotion is a welcomed pain.