For Emma, Forever Ago

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For Emma, Forever Ago
Studio album by Bon Iver
Released July 8, 2007 (initial)
February 19, 2008 (US)
May 12, 2008 (UK)
Recorded November 2006 – February 2007
Genre Indie folk, folk rock
Length 37:19
Label Jagjaguwar (US)
4AD (UK)
Producer Justin Vernon
Bon Iver chronology
For Emma, Forever Ago
(2008)
Blood Bank EP
(2009)
Singles from For Emma, Forever Ago
  1. "Skinny Love"
    Released: April 28, 2008
  2. "For Emma"
    Released: September 15, 2008
  3. "re: stacks"
    Released: December 15, 2008
Initial self released cover
Cover of the self-released version of the album
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Mojo 5/5 stars [2]
Now 4/5 stars [3]
Pitchfork Media (8.1/10) [4]
PopMatters (7/10) [5]
Robert Christgau (C+) [6]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [7]
Spin 4/5 stars [8]
Stylus Magazine (B) [9]
Uncut 5/5 stars [10]

For Emma, Forever Ago is the debut album from Wisconsin artist Bon Iver. It was self-released in 2007 and received wider release on the Jagjaguwar label in February 2008 (and on the 4AD label in the UK in May 2008). The album was widely acclaimed, receiving spots on critics' end-of-the-year lists, as well as several awards.

History[edit]

Following his break-up with his girlfriend at the time, as well as the break-up of his previous band DeYarmond Edison, Justin Vernon, suffering from mononucleosis, secluded himself in a cabin in Medford, Wisconsin for three months planning to "hibernate." Three months of solitude resulted in the creation of For Emma, Forever Ago. "All of his personal trouble, lack of perspective, heartache, longing, love, loss and guilt that had been stockpiled over the course of the past six years, was suddenly purged into the form of song." [11][12]

All the basic tracks for the record were done by Justin Vernon in the cabin, with a few additional instruments (for example the horns on For Emma) added later; "despite its complexity, the record was created with nothing more than a few microphones and some aged recording equipment."[11]

The album was self-released in July 2007 and quickly gained attention from various music publications like Pitchfork Media. In February 2008, the album was re-released through the Jagjaguwar label with a new album cover. In May 2008, 4AD picked the album up for release in the UK and Europe.

Peter Gabriel recorded a cover of "Flume" for his album, Scratch My Back.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Justin Vernon

For Emma, Forever Ago
No. Title Length
1. "Flume"   3:39
2. "Lump Sum"   3:21
3. "Skinny Love"   3:59
4. "The Wolves (Act I and II)"   5:22
5. "Blindsided"   5:29
6. "Creature Fear"   3:06
7. "Team"   1:57
8. "For Emma"   3:41
9. "re: stacks"   6:41
iTunes bonus track
No. Title Length
10. "Wisconsin"   5:24

Reception[edit]

For Emma, Forever Ago received acclaim from critics. It has an 88 rating on Metacritic, earning it the "Universal Acclaim" tag.[13] In an early review, online magazine Pitchfork Media rated it very favorably, as well as including it in their list of the best albums of 2007.[14] The New York Times called the record "irresistible."[15] May 2008's edition of the British music magazine MOJO rated the album five stars, and tagged it with the title "MOJO Instant Classic."

Robert Christgau's C-plus rating may be the harshest review of the album (compared to 26 other, mostly positive, reviews on Metacritic). Christgau compared Justin Vernon's lyrics to the poetry of Robert Creeley, and complained that not only did the former's lyrics fall short, but that the album's "solitary meditations...lose definition faster than an angel's breath on a January morn."[16]

Criticisms of the album sometimes center around the audio quality of the album, pointing out that it is hard to make out words during certain parts of songs. However, even many of the negative reviews commented on the future potential: "If he relies just a little too much on the atmosphere and creaking spaces between notes filled by the character of the cabin in which he recorded, that's something that more recording, more songwriting will surely fill out." [17]

In Australia, "Skinny Love" was played on alternative radio station Triple J and became a hit with listeners, making the listener-voted Hottest 100 countdown of the most popular songs of 2008 at #21.

The album has sold 130,000 copies in the United States as of the charts dated January 28, 2012.[18]

The album was listed at number 92 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 Best Albums of the '00s. They called it "One of the all-time great breakup albums, not to mention one of the era's surprise success stories." [19]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Rhapsody US 100 Best Albums of the Decade 2009 #17[20]
Rhapsody US Alt/Indie's Best Albums of the Decade 2009 #8[21]
Mojo UK Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #4[22]
Observer Music Monthly UK 50 Albums of the Year 2008 #1[23]
Paste US Signs of Life 2008: Best Music 2008 #4[24]
Pazz & Jop US Album Winners 2008 #8[25]
Pitchfork Media US Top 50 Albums of 2007 2007 #29[26]
Pitchfork Media US Top 200 Albums of The 2000s 2009 #29[27]
Q UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #34[28]
Rolling Stone US Albums of the 2000s 2008 #92[29]
The Skinny UK Top Ten Albums of 2008 2008 #2[30]
Spin US The 40 Best Albums of 2008 2008 #31[31]
Uncut UK Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #4[22]
New Musical Express UK Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #24[32]
Rough Trade UK Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #1[33]
Rockfeedback UK Top 100 Albums of 2008 2008 #4[34]
Under the Radar US Top 50 Albums of 2008 2008 #19[35]
New Musical Express UK The Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade 2009 #87[36]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 64
U.S. Top Independent Albums 4
U.S. Top Heatseekers 1
UK Albums Chart 42
Ireland Albums Top 75 16
Belgium Albums Top 50 20
Dutch Albums Top 100 95

Personnel[edit]

Band

  • Justin Vernon: lead vocals, background vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, organ, drums, percussion, electronic drums, Mellotron, loops

Additional musicians

  • Christy Smith – drums and vocals on "Flume"
  • John Dehaven – trumpet on "For Emma"
  • Randy Pingrey – trombone on "For Emma"

Production

  • Justin Vernon - engineering
  • Nick Petersen – mastering

Design

  • Brian Moen – art direction
  • Griszka Niewiadomski – photography
  • Deb Sorge – hand lettering
  • Daniel Murphy – layout design
  • Gilbert Vernon – photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ "Mojo review". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  3. ^ Borzykowski, Bryan (2008-08-27). "Now review". Nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  4. ^ "Pitchfork review". Pitchforkmedia.com. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  5. ^ Raper, Dan. "PopmMatters review". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  6. ^ "Robert Christgau review". Robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  7. ^ Rolling Stone review[dead link]
  8. ^ "Spin review". Spin-cdnsrc.texterity.com. 2008-02-18. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  9. ^ "Stylus review". Stylusmagazine.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  10. ^ "Uncut review". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  11. ^ a b "Bon Iver Bio". Ambledown.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  12. ^ Caramanica, Jon (June 3, 2011). "Who, What and Where is Bon Iver?". New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (2008): Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  14. ^ "For Emma, Forever Ago | Pitchfork". Pitchforkmedia.com. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  15. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (October 17, 2007). "CMJ Music Marathon: Once Obscure, Now With Something to Prove". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  16. ^ "CG: Bon Iver". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  17. ^ Raper, Dan. "Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago – PopMatters Music Review". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  18. ^ Caulfield, Keith (2009-01-28). "Romance And Indie Rock Hit The Billboard 200". Billboard (magazine). Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  19. ^ 100 Best Albums of the '00s. Rolling Stone magazine. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  20. ^ "Rhapsody's 100 Best Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  21. ^ "Alt/Indie’s Best Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  22. ^ a b "Uncut’s Top 50 & Mojo’s Top 50 of 2008". Stereogum. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  23. ^ "50 Albums Of The Year". The Guardian (London). December 7, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  24. ^ Edwards, Aaron. "Signs of Life 2008: Best Music :: Music :: Features :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  25. ^ "New York Pazz and Jop Albums". Villagevoice.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  26. ^ "Pitchfork: Staff Lists: Top 50 Albums of 2007". Pitchforkmedia.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  27. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 50-21". Pitchfork. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  28. ^ Q magazine Jan 09, pg.83
  29. ^ [1][dead link]
  30. ^ The Skinny: Issue 39, pg. 34
  31. ^ 12.11.08 8:32 am. "The 20 Best Albums of 2008 | 20) GNARLS BARKLEY, THE ODD COUPLE". SPIN.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  32. ^ "NME‘s Top 50 Albums Of 2008". Stereogum. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  33. ^ "Welcome to Rough Trade Shops". Roughtrade.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  34. ^ "Home". RockFeedback. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  35. ^ Studarus, Laura. ":.. Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine ..:". Undertheradarmag.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  36. ^ "The Top 100 Greatest Albums Of The Decade". Nme.Com. Retrieved 2011-08-11.