15 years of Bon Iver

2021 marks the 15th anniversary of Bon Iver - an artist with a remarkable impact.

Olivia Finlayson
10th November 2021
Image: Wikimedia

2021 marks 15 years since Justin Vernon formed Bon Iver.

I've decided to take this 15th anniversary as an opportunity to delve into the transformation of Bon Iver's discography and wider-related goodness projected into the world to spread more awareness of how music can change lives.

For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)

If you let me take you back to 2006 in a cosy cabin in the middle of Wisconsin: Bon Iver and For Emma, Forever Ago was born. Justin Vernon wrote the record after various failed bands, illness and heartbreak, with initially solely just an acoustic guitar and his thoughts. For Emma, Forever Ago gained critic's acclamation and has even made it into Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. 

As Bon Iver's career has lengthened, musically the band transitioned from largely soft indie-folk music to more experimental projects, turning from traditional instruments to more technological enhanced work; the album 22, A Million most notably embodying the shift within their musical expression. However, the depth of Vernon's lyrics has been on-going through it all, so much that it inspired my first tattoo: "Your love will be safe with me".

Justin Vernon wrote the record after various failed bands, illness and heartbreak, with initially solely just an acoustic guitar and his thoughts

The band has released four studio albums: For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver, 22, A Million and I,I. 

On top of this, Bon Iver has won 2 Grammys and been nominated for 8 more, showcasing their impact on the music industry and straying from the representation of typical norms of mainly pop/rap and dance music within modern-day pop culture. 

22, A Million (2016)

Throughout their 15 year career, the band's members have been involved in subsequent side projects whilst staying loyal to the band. Projects such as Big Red Machine allow listeners to experience Vernon's musical creativity in alternative ways whilst still embodying the homely feeling Bon Iver's music is renowned for.

On the other hand, Bon Iver has worked with more mainstream artists such as Taylor Swift, showing their versatility and range within reaching people through the music industry. Potentially most importantly, Bon Iver uses their musical platform to support wider social issues such as US Presidential elections, equality and opportunities for minorities, female reproductive rights and support for victims of gun violence and police brutality. 

Best tracks for beginners: 'Flume', 'Skinny Love', 'Holocene', '33 God' and 'Michicant'. 

Certainly for anyone looking to cry at how beautiful something man-made can be.

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