For Emma, Forever Ago

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 326 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 326

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. JoeH.
    Sep 24, 2009
    10
    Best album released for years, the lyrical content is something to admire, completely compelled to listen to it at least once a day even though its been out for over a year, thanks Justin.
  2. Jun 16, 2011
    10
    A truly cathartic masterpiece of a debut album from Justin Vernon. What started as a retreat ended in creation, that creation came in the form of "For Emma, Forever Ago". Like many, the first song that peaked my interest was "Skinny Love" (please don't pretend like you're "over" this track because it's popular you elitist douche) every song on the album builds and destroys, pushes andA truly cathartic masterpiece of a debut album from Justin Vernon. What started as a retreat ended in creation, that creation came in the form of "For Emma, Forever Ago". Like many, the first song that peaked my interest was "Skinny Love" (please don't pretend like you're "over" this track because it's popular you elitist douche) every song on the album builds and destroys, pushes and pulls, burns and freezes the emotions of a bitter heartbreak and quiet defeat of denial.I've never met a person who has taken the time to sit down and listen to this album and not love...if these people exist...I would rather never acknowledge their existence for as long as I live. Expand
  3. Aug 22, 2011
    10
    Justin Vernon has one of the most beautiful falsetto I've ever heard. This album is a slice of pure musical genius. Each track is beautifully written and gets better with each listen. I never found this to be an entertaining album but after listening to it a few times, it's really grown on me. Lump Sum is easily the best track on this album but every other track is amazing also. All InJustin Vernon has one of the most beautiful falsetto I've ever heard. This album is a slice of pure musical genius. Each track is beautifully written and gets better with each listen. I never found this to be an entertaining album but after listening to it a few times, it's really grown on me. Lump Sum is easily the best track on this album but every other track is amazing also. All In All, "For Emma, Forever Ago" is an extremely well written album and I highly recommend this to anyone. A Expand
  4. Dave
    Nov 25, 2009
    10
    The only thing I can add to what everybody else has said about this incredible album is that it breaks your heart.
  5. MattH.
    Dec 12, 2008
    5
    Every song on the album is good, as is the overall mood presented, but it felt like I was listening to one very very long song. Just not enough variety.
  6. HayroC
    Mar 19, 2009
    5
    The album is good, but some songs are boring.
  7. MarcG.
    Apr 16, 2008
    7
    Decent effort...must confirm the next time.
  8. OkeeMokee
    Feb 28, 2008
    4
    What a bore!
  9. 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
  10. MauriceS.
    Aug 1, 2008
    10
    Such sadness, but such beauty. His voice stays with me for hours
  11. AniruddhaB.
    Jan 6, 2009
    9
    Beautiful album. Justin Vernon's voice is so intimate... yet so intense... the best of the year for me along with portishead's third.
  12. christianp.
    Feb 27, 2008
    9
    What a fantastic album. The vocals are hauntingly familiar and there is enough subtle diversity to keep the record fresh. My only complaint is that there are only 8 full songs on it -- it's a lovely listen though.
  13. wimk.
    Jan 9, 2009
    10
    Great, fantastic. Great, gloomy and genious!
  14. JJ
    Oct 14, 2008
    10
    This album is a very soothing and calming release. I first heard it while in Iraq and have been a fan since. His music was just what I needed on those rough days when tempers flared and situations were nearly out of control...I would go and listen to this album to calm down.
  15. josh
    Feb 27, 2008
    9
    Love this record, "Skinny Love" stands out as the best track for me. Bon Iver sounds like an accoustic version of TV on the Radio. Outstanding.
  16. Jeremy
    Feb 27, 2008
    10
    One of the best albums I have EVER heard.
  17. JoshP.
    Feb 28, 2008
    10
    I love this. I'm waiting for one of these songs to end up on Grey's Anatomy because of all the hype. Not that I'd watch Grey's, but seriously boys and girls. If you don't own this and are any sort of person that is inspired by music, this record will haunt you for a long time.
  18. wisdomwisdom
    Mar 21, 2008
    10
    Briliant...
  19. TedG.
    Mar 20, 2008
    10
    The guitar reminds me of Elliott Smith and the off-putting at first that grow on you vocals remind me of the first few times I listened to the Pixies. Definitely worth multiple listenings.
  20. AlanR.
    Mar 2, 2008
    10
    Amazing album. Sounds like Tunde Adepimbe from TV on the Radio meets the instrumentation of Sam Beam. Great for late nights or early morning car drives to work. My only complaint is that this rerelease came out at the end of winter. Would have been a great soundtrack for December and January.
  21. SleimanC.
    Mar 5, 2008
    10
    Great album from this french artist! Merci!
  22. TimT.
    Mar 6, 2008
    10
    incredibly refreshing; I say with no uncertainty that this is the most beautiful album I have ever listened to.
  23. R
    Mar 6, 2008
    10
    This is the best record I've heard in a long long time.
  24. Craig
    Apr 17, 2008
    10
    I think this was the best album of 2007. Hauntingly beautiful. Skinny Love never gets old.
  25. DarenH.
    May 12, 2008
    10
    My favourite record of the year. An ambient, honest, simple, soul-searchingly wonderful record. Can't stop listening to it.
  26. FelipeP.
    May 20, 2008
    10
    Fantastic album, unique voice.
  27. JennaR.
    May 30, 2008
    10
    Absolutely amazing sound; pure emotion and thought.
  28. MissW
    Jun 2, 2008
    10
    It has been long since I heard this album first time but what I remember is this magical feeling. It makes this CD timeless sailing through my mind. Album has only 9 tracks but sometimes it's better to put some really good melodies on the disc and leave the less shiny behind. Songs for Emma are picked with love and by a big ear which knows how to get into humans soul.
  29. Bill
    Aug 23, 2008
    9
    One of the more unique albums in recent memory. His voice is very specific and fits the overall mood of the cd's themes very well. Look forward to more of him.
  30. RobertoC.
    Aug 25, 2008
    9
    Reaches out to your inner loneliness but in a good way. Very original.
  31. NeiloM.
    Oct 14, 2008
    9
    Buy this one on vinyl and let-er-spin on a Sunday morning while you're blankly staring at birds out the window. "Skinny Love" is just OK people (a nice sounding pop styled song... but not the best song on the album!) The "Wolves" songs are much more layered and unexpected in sound and rhythm. Great sound-scape of an album. Somewhat haunting...great poetry.
  32. ahmada.
    Dec 22, 2008
    10
    Album of the year, with Skinny Love as the track of the year.
  33. MarkF.
    Oct 23, 2008
    10
    I listen to this CD in my car and find myself transported. Even my kids love the songs. This is such a transformational CD that i am telling all of my friends about it. I cant wait to hear what he does next. he reminds me a bit of Sufjan Stevens!
  34. ScottM.
    Feb 26, 2008
    8
    Bon Iver's splendid ballads of heartbreak, loss and regret fall, soft like snow on one's ears, gradually and subtly penetrating the soul. He sets up camp in a well trodden musical landscape - the stripped down quest of the singer songwriter - yet manages to emerge with something that feels personal, fresh and vital. This is a grower. Initially it may sound much more conventional Bon Iver's splendid ballads of heartbreak, loss and regret fall, soft like snow on one's ears, gradually and subtly penetrating the soul. He sets up camp in a well trodden musical landscape - the stripped down quest of the singer songwriter - yet manages to emerge with something that feels personal, fresh and vital. This is a grower. Initially it may sound much more conventional than it is. An album that pays big dividends to those willing to allow its less obvious strengths surface. Expand
  35. e
    Feb 27, 2008
    9
    The layering of vocals and the subtle Peter Gabriel meets Simon and Garfunkel ethos makes this one of the best albums of the first two months of 2008.
  36. JeremyF.
    Feb 28, 2008
    8
    A very pretty, lush record. Muted. Calm. Hushed. Intimate, yet detached. This is a very dour record, but it a good way. "Skinny Love" and "Re: Stacks" stand far above the rest, which pale in comparison to those two highlights. But "Flume" is also a very sparsely emotional opener, and "Lump Sum" and "Creature Fear" both share beautiful strange decaying harmonies. "Team" is a brief A very pretty, lush record. Muted. Calm. Hushed. Intimate, yet detached. This is a very dour record, but it a good way. "Skinny Love" and "Re: Stacks" stand far above the rest, which pale in comparison to those two highlights. But "Flume" is also a very sparsely emotional opener, and "Lump Sum" and "Creature Fear" both share beautiful strange decaying harmonies. "Team" is a brief instrumental that doesn't really do much, but fades into the awkwardly dialogged tale seamlessly. This is a nice record, and wonderful rainy morning or misty night soundtracking. However, it is not as amazing as everyone thinks it is; the lyrics are often incomprehensible, which works with many bands, but not necessarily in these instances. It's definitely ignorable, but it did deter from the listening/mood for me. And, honestly, I'd rather go spin "The Creek Drank The Cradle" a few times, and lull into that sepia-toned realm instead of this wintery cast. Beautiful. Emotional. But not outstanding. Expand
  37. T.Nixon
    Feb 28, 2008
    10
    Wow ... Easily album of the year for me. I have never had an album grab me the way this has. A moment of musical genius.
  38. [Anonymous]
    Mar 1, 2008
    10
    Great record, but to get the full deal see them LIVE. Just saw them open for Black mountain in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was floored. Holds a nice spot right next to the handsome family and all my Palace Music. Solid talent to be reckoned with
  39. DavidB.
    Mar 21, 2008
    10
    I just fell in love with this album tonight so take the "10" rating for what it is. But as far as first impressions go it doesnt get much better than this for me. Beautiful record.
  40. OwenP.
    Mar 21, 2008
    10
    Such a gripping listen. His voice is precious. As the album progresses, you can almost envision the 3 months he spent in a cabin tucked away in Wisconsin's hinterland. Although thoroughly enjoying this album at the moment, I can't help but look forward to future albums from Justin, aka. Bon Iver.
  41. Sam
    Mar 22, 2008
    10
    Easily the best indie album of the year (so far). Painfully evocative of the rural setting which inspired him and a truly masterful acoustic opus.
  42. Justin
    Mar 23, 2008
    10
    Intimate. Hypnotic. Beautiful. Intense.
  43. Alex
    Apr 1, 2008
    9
    This may seem redundant, since I completely agree with Josh. When I first heard it I thought, "Tunde Adekimpe?" (lead singer of TV On The Radio). The songwriting and song craftsmanship is gorgeous, and Skinny Love and Creature Fear are fantastic.
  44. foxoff
    Apr 17, 2008
    8
    Wow, this is a brilliant album. I am giving an 8 because it lets itself down a little towards the end and well, since I believe nothing's ever perfect, 9 is my highest score. Skinny Love is going to be played to everyone who will listen and who I believe will appreciate it. There's some others too, but that one hit me right away. Nice job!
  45. TR.
    Apr 18, 2008
    9
    Cool album. I can't wait for his next.
  46. ChadS.
    Apr 24, 2008
    10
    On the title track, this songwriter uses, then surpasses, the best Damien Jurado("Tragedy"), M. Ward("Chinese Translation"), and Beiruit("Postcards from Italy"), song. It sounds like the soundtrack to Rob Sheffield's "Love is a Mix Tape", the memoir about the rock critic's late-rock critic wife. Of all the sadly beautiful songs on "For Emma, Forever Ago, "For Emma" is the most On the title track, this songwriter uses, then surpasses, the best Damien Jurado("Tragedy"), M. Ward("Chinese Translation"), and Beiruit("Postcards from Italy"), song. It sounds like the soundtrack to Rob Sheffield's "Love is a Mix Tape", the memoir about the rock critic's late-rock critic wife. Of all the sadly beautiful songs on "For Emma, Forever Ago, "For Emma" is the most sadly beautiful. It might be the best of its kind since Elton John's "Your Song". "Skinny Love" is my other favorite. Violent Femmes didn't do punk, but they gave good pathos on acoustical instruments, just like "Skinny Love". The "creature" in "Creature Fear", must be the girl, the proverbial "Emma", but it's also a funny reference to the animals outside this songwriter's "recording studio", his cabin. A raccoon? A chinchilla? A rabbit with rabies? He's girl and squirrel afraid. I'm afraid I'll never hear another album like "For Emma, Forever Ago". This is rare music, indeed. Expand
  47. RuiR.
    May 15, 2008
    10
    The real American ballads os XXI century. Genetics: American Music Club, Cowboy Junkies. I love it. Come to Portugal, one day.
  48. TimTom
    May 15, 2008
    10
    What can I say-- this album is too good to be lumped into any sort of genre. For Emma.. gives me that feeling of being kissed for the very first time. I'm pretty sure its going to be the best thing to come out this year.
  49. ElliotC.
    May 18, 2008
    10
    Perfect. Whatever the situation you find yourself listening to this album, every song suits every eventuality. But there is still more to come no doubt, looking forward to seeing where he goes in his career.
  50. LinusG.
    May 8, 2008
    10
    Re: Stacks must be the most beautiful sentimental song I have ever heard. Great to listen to when looking at old pictures from college parties.
  51. BenF.
    Jun 11, 2008
    9
    A masterpiece.
  52. WesP.
    Jun 13, 2008
    10
    When I first heard this album, by the third song, my brain had begun to re-wire itself, neurons grew, new synapses formed. I will never be the same. This is one album that I will try my best to keep to myself, like a briefcase full of cash you find in an alley.
  53. MatthewM.
    Jul 22, 2008
    10
    This is the first record I have ever listened to where I don't want to share my opinions on it simply because i wouldn't want to say something stupid that took away from its shocking beauty. The one point I will make and this is something that keeps entering my head everytime i hear this album is how distinctly American it is. In no other country could I see this type of album This is the first record I have ever listened to where I don't want to share my opinions on it simply because i wouldn't want to say something stupid that took away from its shocking beauty. The one point I will make and this is something that keeps entering my head everytime i hear this album is how distinctly American it is. In no other country could I see this type of album being made. Harbored in folk and soul but expressed through solitude, loneliness, and yes (lame as it might sound) freedom Justin Vernon has captured the actual American spirit that so many country acts have pitifully grasped at. Expand
  54. Brian
    Aug 19, 2008
    10
    I have never heard anything quite like this. It is absolutely brilliant.
  55. OleM
    Aug 20, 2008
    10
    Stunning, absolutely stunning.
  56. JyotirmayaD.
    Sep 13, 2008
    7
    The only crime with this beautiful album is that it is not longer than it is... Another 15 minutes or 2, 3 songs would have been awesome.
  57. DannyV.
    Sep 17, 2008
    10
    I love music that surprises me. Like many great albums, For Emma, Forever Ago has taken several listens fully grasp the raw beauty of Bon Iver's music. Very easily a contender for album of the year.
  58. MaxM.
    Sep 17, 2008
    9
    If you count this album as a 2008 release, it is definitely the best of 2008. If you count Justin Vernon's individual release of 2007, Bon Iver is the second best of 2007 with you-know-what in first (In Rainbows). Very good music for someone who recorded in a remote cabin in Wisconsin for four months.
  59. ScottW
    Apr 30, 2009
    10
    Its Wounder an album like this is made today. Art, folk rock at a finest level. Never wavers nor falls short. Just bleeds all the way through to the end.
  60. JayL.
    Nov 13, 2008
    10
    Songs to download are Creature Fear/Team, Flume, Re: Stacks and The Wolves, if not the whole thing. Amazing, amazing work. His voice and his harmonies are just plain beautiful.
  61. BillS.
    Dec 22, 2008
    10
    Hands down, album of the year. Beautiful.
  62. PaulB.
    Dec 30, 2008
    10
    Best album of 2008. The Vinyl interprets the space of the cabin in a way the CD just can't. But in any medium this is a record worth hearing. The live shows with Wilco were outstanding.
  63. scottRoth
    Dec 3, 2008
    10
    This is amazing! one of my favs this year. if your going to listen to anything this is a must.
  64. RobertP.
    Feb 26, 2008
    10
    Wisconsin, Winter, Moonlight... the best 3 am album ever.
  65. KyleN.
    Feb 26, 2008
    9
    A relaxing listen
  66. MIkeB.
    Mar 21, 2008
    9
    Pick this one up. You won't regret it. Gentle, sad and haunting. Vernon's only gotten better since his Mount Vernon days.
  67. Anna
    Mar 23, 2008
    10
    I saw him in concert in November about a month after discovering him on the internet. His performance was poignant and moving, like his songs. It is a lonely yet complacent record, and Vernon sets that tone on every track. This album is a stunning debut, Vernon has the capacity to be both irresistable and haunting.
  68. SueS.
    Mar 24, 2008
    10
    Beautiful album - has a depth of sound and feeling - my favorite song changes each time I listen to it. Makes me homesick.
  69. NP
    Mar 26, 2008
    10
    Though I frequent this site regularly for music recommendations, I rarely rate albums. That said, this is one of the most beautiful and affective albums I have ever heard. I know that sounds like a grand and thoughtless statement, but it's true. My response to it was immediate. It's indie rock-soul-folk, and it's gorgeous.
  70. BenG.
    Apr 26, 2008
    10
    This album is fantastic. It's so raw and emotional. It's hands-down the best album of the year.
  71. SenorDiscount
    May 18, 2008
    10
    Get to this fellow's show - live in fact better than fiction.
  72. RossL
    May 19, 2008
    10
    Simply Brilliant.
  73. Jason
    Jun 18, 2008
    9
    Grand record considering how mellow and stripped down it is. Some great ambiance behind the rhythmic strumming of the guitar. Opening track, Flume, and skinny love are the best...I love it when a record opens up upon repeated listenings. Goes well with Neil Young's Live 1971 Massey Hall.
  74. AndrewP.
    Jul 13, 2008
    10
    Simply inspiring.
  75. BelleJ
    Aug 15, 2008
    9
    This is such a stunning album. I've heard it so many times, and it's still fantastic. I love how different his voice is, and all of the harmonies, and how EVERY song amazes me. It's a really great album.
  76. scotta.
    Jan 14, 2009
    10
    For Emma, Forever Ago perfectly captures the feelings of both the cold and warmth of a long winter. I have played this album non-stop since I discovered it over the summer. Overall one of my all-time favorite records.
  77. DavidS
    Apr 16, 2009
    10
    WOW! I am an avid music lover and rarely come across a musician who leaves me speechless. Reviews suggesting this is a "good" sophomore effort, but could have been better leave me dumbfounded! The lyrics, singing, and phrasing are simply amazing. Note one album in the recent past the has so much emotional intensity and intense lyricism! Bon Iver is the "real deal" and I only hope he WOW! I am an avid music lover and rarely come across a musician who leaves me speechless. Reviews suggesting this is a "good" sophomore effort, but could have been better leave me dumbfounded! The lyrics, singing, and phrasing are simply amazing. Note one album in the recent past the has so much emotional intensity and intense lyricism! Bon Iver is the "real deal" and I only hope he continues to produce such amazing and beautiful songs. Absolutely fantastic! Expand
  78. MS
    Nov 24, 2008
    10
    Justin Vernon is a very talented musician and always has been. Anything he has ever written, including music off of this album, is perfection.
  79. StephanieS.
    Dec 18, 2008
    10
    I loved it. Best by far. He easily slipped this one as my top album. I live in Wisconsin. This is the sound track of my life, captured by lovely vocals and incredible lyrics.
  80. Nov 17, 2010
    10
    Every word penetrates our hearts like a recognition of our most sincere feelings. This is a perfect album, where every song feels like it's meant to exist. It's impossible to get tired off every single one of this musics...
  81. Jun 20, 2011
    10
    It is heartbreakingly lovely, personal, and visceral. It is perfect for lying in bed and dozing, reading, or having on outside in the sun for a day. This album couldn't be better.
  82. Mar 28, 2012
    8
    This is a pretty nice album with a subtle and interesting feel to it. It's the type of music you would listen to if you were camping with a bunch of friends and you got stuck in a rainstorm in the middle of the afternoon. Give it a chance, it's a fine listen.
  83. Jun 2, 2011
    10
    5000 characters isn't enough so I'll sum it up with this: perfect. I can honestly listen to this album anytime/season/place etc...easily in my Top 10 albums of all time (talking about ones made in my lifetime).
  84. Nov 9, 2011
    9
    One of the records of the decade. This has beautiful songs, unique arrangements and a genuine rawness that only gets captured on record properly once every few years. Bon Iver does an awful lot with very little on this. I would highly recommend.
  85. Dec 3, 2011
    8
    Refreshing, soulful album. New sound for alternative, and we can only hope we keeps this up. Crossroads will happen if he decides to continue to experiment or move to a more mainstream sound
  86. Sep 9, 2012
    10
    Beautiful, Eerie and intimate. Bon Iver at its finest.
  87. Nov 9, 2012
    9
    Sad, sorrowful, and, at times, quite powerful. Bon Iver's debut will quietly blow you away.
  88. Jan 30, 2013
    10
    A beautiful, yet sparse debut. Vernon flays his very heart out for the listener. It is full of pure, raw emotion. The guitars are perfectly placed, juxtaposed by Vernon's introspective, albeit mysterious lyrics.
  89. Mar 20, 2014
    9
    Decided to get back into Bon Iver. This is a beautiful album. Justin's voice is so haunting and his falsetto is to die for. The simplicity of it enhances it fully, their second album falls from being over produced. Justin escaped into the Woods for a few months to work on this album and you can hear that perfectly here. The music has this tone and attitude where the wilderness is all youDecided to get back into Bon Iver. This is a beautiful album. Justin's voice is so haunting and his falsetto is to die for. The simplicity of it enhances it fully, their second album falls from being over produced. Justin escaped into the Woods for a few months to work on this album and you can hear that perfectly here. The music has this tone and attitude where the wilderness is all you can picture. It sounds as a longing to get free and want to be away.

    His vocals on ever song is beautiful, especially the harmonies with himself on The Wolves Act 1 & 2. Musically it's easy and accessible to listen to. The only place this album has some faults is with lyrics. On songs like Lump Sum, Blindsided, and Creature Fear, they are questionable. But at other times they rip through like beautiful poetry, and talent is undeniable.

    The Wolves Act 1 & 2, Flume, Skinny Love, and re: Stacks, are the highlight tracks easily. They have the most emotion and power to them and that's where Bon Iver really shines. Sure if you're in a blissful carefree mood, Bon Iver is not the band to go to, but if you need to cry, need to be picked up some, need something nice, this is the perfect place to go.

    There isn't too much to comment, because it's an incredible album plain and simple. A must listen to from the last decade.

    A-
    Expand
  90. May 28, 2013
    10
    This album is the example set when one thinks about good music. It's amazing what such a talented musician when they go back to their roots. Every song as beautiful as the other and every word a painful memory to a proud belief, this album deserves the best ratings from every critic.
  91. Jun 25, 2013
    10
    Incredible album. My favorite of all time,really. One of the complaints I've read on message boards and the like is that the lyrics are "nonsensical". This just means you aren't really listening. This album tells a very detailed, very intricate story. Very slight details are incredible here. For those who don't get it:

    Flume Icarus’ story is a metaphor for getting too close to someone
    Incredible album. My favorite of all time,really. One of the complaints I've read on message boards and the like is that the lyrics are "nonsensical". This just means you aren't really listening. This album tells a very detailed, very intricate story. Very slight details are incredible here. For those who don't get it:

    Flume Icarus’ story is a metaphor for getting too close to someone and then losing them
    Lump Getting over that un-named girl, and falling for “Emma”
    Skinny Love Short mutual love as they slowly grew apart
    The Wolves Complete loss of love from “Emma”, which slowly wears away at him as she won’t tell him she’s moved on, but Justin knows now
    Blindsided He saw a breakup coming, but something made it especially tough, past just a breakup. Perhaps another guy, etc.
    Creature Fear The fear of seeing “Emma” around and saying something stupid/embarrassing
    Team Time Passes
    For Emma He still loves Emma and attempts once more to get her back
    RE: Stacks Re-rejection hits hard, maybe even via e-mail, hence the “RE:”. She has no love for him at all, and not even enough respect for him to have that conversation in person
    Wisconsin About moving on and trying to find yourself again

    As Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) said in an interview, "Everyone has an Emma". This album will hit home if you've ever been rejected, broken up with, or in love. Truly incredible.Too bad 10 is the highest rating I can give it.
    Expand
  92. Oct 25, 2013
    10
    The soulful lo-fi tones of Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, exude the loneliness and heartbreak that characterized the writing and recording of the songs by Justin Verner in a remote cabin in the wintry woods of Wisconsin. Beautifully balanced, the album moves from one haunting melody to the next, each track building and developing it into a story of lost love and longing. ItThe soulful lo-fi tones of Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, exude the loneliness and heartbreak that characterized the writing and recording of the songs by Justin Verner in a remote cabin in the wintry woods of Wisconsin. Beautifully balanced, the album moves from one haunting melody to the next, each track building and developing it into a story of lost love and longing. It starts with the slow tones of Flume and progresses to the more upbeat horns in For Emma before dialing back down to end with the poetic lyrics and simple guitar riffs of Re: Stacks.

    For Emma, Forever Ago plucks at old memories of long-lost loves, and is a rare treat in a fast-paced world, inviting you to slow down, have a cup of tea, and watch the snow fall softly down outside a cabin in the woods.
    Expand
  93. Mar 24, 2014
    10
    Words cannot explain how much I love this album. There's a comforting feeling in this album-- it's heartbreaking, but at the same time, it has a light of optimism that shines. This album is relaxing and Justin Vernon's singing is distinctive.
  94. Oct 28, 2014
    10
    Listening to this album is an unique experience that I recommend to everyone who likes really good music - not just as a piece of fun, but totally art. My favorite band, by far.
  95. Nov 18, 2014
    9
    Beautifully sung, written, arranged and just beautiful in general.
    For Emma, Forever Ago connects with the listener in a way which Justin Vernon does very easily. The lyrics effortlessly provoke all kinds of feelings. Something which modern music almost never does nowadays. Skinny Love and Creature Fear are especially brilliant.
  96. Mar 6, 2015
    9
    This album is simple, sweet, and unpretentious, yet that's exactly why it's so special. The music is melancholy and introspective and the vocals are timid and emotional, but at the same time there's something very uplifting about this album. It's really great music to get lost in, especially if you're laying in bed, studying, or driving down the highway late at night. This is definitely anThis album is simple, sweet, and unpretentious, yet that's exactly why it's so special. The music is melancholy and introspective and the vocals are timid and emotional, but at the same time there's something very uplifting about this album. It's really great music to get lost in, especially if you're laying in bed, studying, or driving down the highway late at night. This is definitely an album I'll be listening to over and over again. Expand
  97. Apr 21, 2015
    10
    I could go on for a while, but I won't.

    This is my favorite album. Although I understand why so many people don't like it. To enjoy it, you have to be able to connect with the story. It's that simple. It's like watching a broken heart heal over time. It's haunting, because it can take you back to times in your own life that you might not want to remember. Yet still, it triumphs in
    I could go on for a while, but I won't.

    This is my favorite album. Although I understand why so many people don't like it. To enjoy it, you have to be able to connect with the story. It's that simple.

    It's like watching a broken heart heal over time. It's haunting, because it can take you back to times in your own life that you might not want to remember. Yet still, it triumphs in the end because it is a story of healing and of progress.

    Justin Vernon certainly isn't 100% better at the end of the album - life can cut us pretty deep and scars will inevitably remain. But that doesn't mean the process isn't beautiful - even essential, to living life. And listening to him illustrate this process in himself is an intimate thing that's totally unexpected in music today.

    More than 10/10 - this is so raw, so genuine, and so honest that it shouldn't really be rated. It's a work of art that will survive long after the artist for millions to experience. Some will love it, some will hate it, and many will fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum (as I do). In a strange way, that's what makes For Emma, Forever Ago so special.
    Expand
  98. May 30, 2015
    10
    Throw this up as my favorite album of all time, there isn't a single bad song in the collection. It is filled with emotion and is incredibly relate-able.
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. A sure-footed assertion of the artist's individual talents and landing it a spot among the best folk records of 2007 has to offer.
  2. As good as it is, it’s clear that Vernon still has room to grow. A few songs could have used a little extra instrumental kick, and while his songs are great, you can tell he has more to offer. Keep an eye on this one.
  3. 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.