CD For Emma, Forever Ago (CD 1152447),
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For Emma, Forever Ago
2. Lump Sum
3. Skinny Love
4. Wolves, The (Act I and II) - (Act 1 & 2)
6. Creature Fear
8. For Emma
9. Re: Stacks
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 115
Personnel: Christy Smith (vocals, drums); Randy Pingrey (trumpet, trombone).
Recording information: Fairall, Raleigh, NC (11/2006-12/2007); The Hunting Cabin, WI (11/2006-12/2007).
Photographer: Gilbert Vernon.
Recorded in a cabin in Northern Wisconsin in the dead of winter in long sessions intermittently broken up for the chopping and gathering of firewood, FOR EMMA, FOREVER AGO is the impressive debut release from Bon Iver aka Justin Vernon. With warmly recorded acoustic guitars and double-tracked vocals, FOR EMMA sounds like vintage Elliot Smith playing in the Pink Mountaintops. Vernon's voice--alone worth the sticker price--is captivating and multifaceted, as it morphs from wavering falsettos to gospel emotings sometimes within a single phrase. Surprisingly for such an intimate indie record--and particularly for one whose main theme seems to be private anguish--FOR EMMA proved a vibrant seller, registering respectably on both the U.S. and U.K. album charts, garnering many inclusions near the top of 2008 critical favorites lists, and making an unlikely star out of Vernon.
Rolling Stone (p.68) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The music evokes the acoustic side of Nick Cave or Neil Young, with his voice ranging from a creepy falsetto to a moan."
Rolling Stone (p.92) - Ranked #29 in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums Of 2008 -- "Justin Vernon builds big sounds that warm you from within."
Spin (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Vernon's voice -- delicately layered and yearning -- gives standouts 'Skinny Love' and 'Flume' their stunningly direct emotional impact..."
Spin (p.47) - Ranked #31 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[He] built a cathedral to lost love from a base of acoustic guitar and his astonishing, frequently multitracked vocals."
Uncut (p.80) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] magical, hyper-real experience....A sealed, complete and satisfying album..."
Q (Magazine) (p.147) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]is stretching and warping of songs until the tension between plaid-shirted authenticity and technical adventure carries a considerable charge, the kind undiminished by repeat plays."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] record that reaches out and demands attention. It is a powerful act of transformation....Isolation doesn't get more splendid than this."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.73) - Ranked #4 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[H]e's made something beautiful and true that will last for ages."
Harp (magazine) (p.107) - "Vernon's strikingly soulful singing adds an expressive realism to his songs. Charged with honesty, his voice amplifies the unusual beauty of his songs."
Clash (magazine) (p.118) - "[R]efreshingly uplifting and should be heralded as a celebration of unique music making..."
Clash (magazine) (p.65) - Ranked #21 in Clash's "The 40 Best Albums of 2008" -- "The album is a testament to Justin's hard work and perseverance of over a decade of recording music in different forms."
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