The wait is, almost, over. Bon Iver’s highly anticipated third studio album, 22, A Million, will be released on September 30th 2016 via Jagjaguwar.
Fans have been hoping for and speculating the release of a new album from the critically acclaimed Bon Iver since the release of Bon Iver, Bon Iver, in 2011. Speculation grew and rumours circulated after a mysterious mural appeared in New York; sparking anything from healthy anticipation to mass hysteria amongst fans. The mural displayed similar artwork of that recently posted on the band’s Instagram, keen-eyed fans noticed. This artwork was created by New York-based artist Eric Timothy Carlson, who has also created the artwork for 22, A Million.
Bon Iver performed their new album in its entirety in founder Justin Vernon’s hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at the second annual Eaux Claires festival. Mirroring the format of their preceding album Bon Iver, Bon Iver, 22, A Million is also composed of ten tracks. Whetting the appetite of fans the wold over, the track-list has been released:
1. 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
2. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄
3. 715 – CR∑∑KS
4. 33 “GOD”
5. 29 #Strafford APTS
6. 666 ʇ
7. 21 M◊◊N WATER
8. 8 (circle)
10. 00000 Million
Treating eager fans to a flavour of 22, A Million, Bon Iver has released the opening two tracks ahead of the album’s September release date. The tracks are titled ’22 (OVER S∞∞N)’ and ’10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄‘. Immediately after their release on the internet, the tracks received high praise across social media and in the press the world over. After just days, ‘22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]’ has already hit 413,097 views on Youtube (and counting), and ‘10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄ (Extended Version)’ has similarly impressive listenership. Both are available to purchase on 12” vinyl at the Eaux Claires festival, as well as being available on download and streaming services. The album is available for pre-order online, and in selected record stores worldwide, on September 30th 2016.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbJ4qDiNwdc ‘22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EZKXHdH3iE ‘10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄ (Extended Version)’
Of the formation of Bon Iver, of 22, A Million, and of the brilliant mind of Justin Vernon, friend and fellow musician Trever Hagen details here: http://boniver.org/bio. The musicologist, spine-tinglingly, reflects on the origins of Bon Iver, reminiscing on ‘Justin asking: “Trev, wanna be in a band?” as we passed each other in the hallway in front of our high school’s trophy case. From then on, along with five of our closest friends, we played anything together, giving everything a go… This was how the dream began.’
22, A Million is rumoured to be the prolific band’s last album, and the cyclical first line of the opening track ‘it might be over soon’ introduces the weight of the album. Hagen comments of that opening line, and of the entire album, ‘It was the beginning of an unwinding of an immense knot inside [of Vernon]. When confronted with daemons one must hold up the mirror in order to see the other side. For Justin, that begins with 22. 22 stands for Justin. The number’s recurrence in his life has become a meaningful pattern through encounter and recognition. A mile marker, a jersey number, a bill total.’
Hagen explains, where Justin is ‘22’, the rest of the world is ‘A Million’. He notes that ‘22, A Million is thus part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding.’
Returning to Vernon’s home-state of Wisconsin, the majority of the album was recorded in April Base Studios in Fall Creek. Recordings also came into realisation further afield, in London, England and just outside Lisbon, Portugal. 22, A Million came together through a magnetic collaboration of sounds created by Vernon and an intimate group of friends, both old and new. The highly anticipated Bon Iver tour will showcase the album this autumn, and includes a two day, not-for-profit music event at Berlin’s Funkhaus studios on October the 1st and 2nd, in collaboration with Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, The Michelberger Hotel and others. Bon Iver will also be joining Patti Smith, Hiss Golden Messenger and more at The Hollywood Bowl on October 23rd.
22, A Million is an exploration of signs, relationships, meanings and transformations: it is something magical. It is, as Hagen describes it, ’just music, always.’ 22, A Million will undoubtedly be worth the wait.