I, I Image
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 78 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth full-length release for the indie folk band led by Justin Vernon features contributions from such artists as James, Blake, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, BJ Burton, S. Carey, Aaron & Bryce Dessner, Phil Cook, Moses Sumney and Bruce Hornsby, and Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. 100
    The singles have zing, the pacing is superb, and the back half is just as fun as the front. With i,i, you feel the whole last decade: the exploration, the lessons learned. i,i is a mature masterpiece and a stunning marriage of ambition and technique.
  2. Aug 8, 2019
    100
    A decade on from the pained remoteness of For Emma, Forever Ago, i,i holds the same intimacy and urgency, elevated by years of groundbreaking experimentation.
  3. Aug 13, 2019
    90
    An ambitious but interior new sound. On i,i, Bon Iver’s expanding universe feels at once new and familiar. ... Vernon is still the dominant creative force, but on i,i, he steps confidently into the role of curator and conductor (an approach he may have adopted from his work with Kanye West). The result of this collective energy is an album that’s both frank and easygoing, reveling in the magic of close personal relationships.
  4. Aug 8, 2019
    80
    This is a sound of a warm, human futurism. A record that feels impressionistic and abstract, dominated more by feeling than theme. Heavy sounds deployed deftly. Sometimes it feels a little fragmented (like on the slightly off-kilter swagger of ‘We’).
  5. Aug 19, 2019
    80
    The album seems to suggest that Bon Iver is transitioning from a band in the traditional sense of the word into a looser collective. Despite the album’s intense pessimism and anxiety, Bon Iver’s organization speaks to the power of forging a community to battle back against darkness.
  6. Aug 12, 2019
    70
    Vernon’s comments are crucial to divining his meaning in lyrics that can still tend toward the almost comically opaque. ... But the music on “i,i” bolsters this newly outward-looking sense; it’s far more spacious than the hushed acoustic laments of “For Emma, Forever Ago” or the cloistered electro-folk sound of the group’s last album, 2016’s “22, A Million.”
  7. Aug 8, 2019
    40
    There is lots of prettiness and some innovative production, like the tumbles of wordless vocal on iMi, gently insulated by downy static; Vernon’s gospel holler and falsetto curlicues will always make ears prick up. But frequently, including on iMi, his melodies are uninspired, feeling like the first thing he came up with while woodshedding around the backing track.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Aug 9, 2019
    10
    This album is out of our world. Beautiful, well structured with gorgeous sound.
  2. Aug 15, 2019
    10
    Bon Iver's best album. An absolute masterpiece with no bad tracks and no weak moments. "Naeem" is arguably the best thing Justin Vernon hasBon Iver's best album. An absolute masterpiece with no bad tracks and no weak moments. "Naeem" is arguably the best thing Justin Vernon has ever written. Expand
  3. Aug 9, 2019
    10
    a more than welcome fourth addition to bon ivers flawless discography. justin vernon can do no wrong.
  4. Aug 13, 2019
    9
    Simply put, it's phenomenal. It's almost as if Justin Vernon is channeling someone or something from beyond. I'd describe it as akinSimply put, it's phenomenal. It's almost as if Justin Vernon is channeling someone or something from beyond. I'd describe it as akin witnessing a truly spiritual experience. Expand
  5. Aug 9, 2019
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. After the heavy-lyrical and well sound of 22, A Million, Bon Iver find a balance between his experimental-indie style and his old folk music. Expand
  6. Aug 11, 2019
    8
    With "i,i", Bon Iver's music remains as unconventional as it always was, and always as excellent. The songs feel effortless (it sounds likeWith "i,i", Bon Iver's music remains as unconventional as it always was, and always as excellent. The songs feel effortless (it sounds like Justin Vernon was singing the first things that came to his mind, without overthinking or overworking them), and the productions are layered, just like we've come to expect from him across a rich 3-albums discography.

    The themes discussed throughout the record are new for Vernon, going from mother love ('Hey, Ma') to global warming ('Jelmore') to the political climate in the USA ('Shi'Diah'), and they all come so naturally to him, with his falsetto and his folktronica productions. However, the absolute showstopper remains 'Marion', on which Vernon decides to drop everything, grab his guitar, and repeat the line "i thought this was half a love" over and over again: classic Bon Iver right there.

    In some way, "i,i" feels like the compilation of his three previous records, merged and mixed and made into one single album, and that sounds as great as you'd think.
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  7. Aug 12, 2019
    5
    That's two misses in a row from one of the more talented singer songwriters to of this generation. Why can't superfans of a particular artistThat's two misses in a row from one of the more talented singer songwriters to of this generation. Why can't superfans of a particular artist simply admit when an album clearly doesn't live up to the artist's abilities?

    That's not to say there's not a lot of potential here, it's just mostly unfulfilled. A song that could be great, Holyfields, instead teases you with a few moments of brilliance before cutting the song short instead of realizing that brilliance. It would be like listening to Holocene or Perth, except without the refrain. Fortunately there's tracks like Faith that keep the faith that Vernon hasn't completely lost it. Salem, too, has some nice components to it. Then there's U (Man Like), which is completely unremarkable. Hey, Ma, is a song that might get stuck in your head for a matter of minutes, before quickly sizzling out when you acknowledge it offers very little beyond its surface of modestly catchy riffs and jingles. Then there's tracks like We, which should have never been made at all. All in all, it's a weak effort from a guy that has more talent in the fingernail of his little pinky than most musicians of this day and age.
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See all 16 User Reviews