I, I Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 135 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: 26 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  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. 91
    i,i, feels as confident as anything he’s ever done: a dense, richly layered showcase for his continued aversion to the standard rules of grammar and the deepening of his defiantly uncommercial sound.
  3. Aug 12, 2019
    90
    It's rich and endlessly rewarding. i,i brings together Justin Vernon's evolving, career-spanning vision for Bon Iver into one satisfying, defining work.
  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. Mojo
    Aug 20, 2019
    80
    i,i never sounds less than excellent, with wide-open acoustic/electric audio structures allowing pizzicato strings to waft through and rising clouds of horns to blow in unexpectedly. It really is bleeding edge stuff. [Oct 2019, p.90]
  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 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 3 out of 31
  1. Sep 1, 2019
    10
    This album is genuinely beautiful. From front to back it is constantly entertaining, heartwarming, and emotional. Justin Vernon’s vocals stayThis album is genuinely beautiful. From front to back it is constantly entertaining, heartwarming, and emotional. Justin Vernon’s vocals stay great throughout the project and even seems to have a light country influence on some of the tracks. My favorite songs include iMi, Hey Ma, and Faith. Expand
  2. Aug 12, 2019
    10
    I,I is the culmination of the calendar, which is Justin Vernon's Bon Iver. Vernon who let loose, and decidedly did the job of steering theI,I is the culmination of the calendar, which is Justin Vernon's Bon Iver. Vernon who let loose, and decidedly did the job of steering the boat, led a crew of his counter parts to create an all encompassing portrait of the progression of his prized project. At times referencing the fully stripped nature of his first album, but with a healthy mix of synth, and inject electronics. Incorporating the grandeur of the second album (Sax and all) with the minimalism of the Blood Bank EP. This is everything, some may not be able grasp the full depth of this music, or take the time to understand/appreciate how deeply complicated it is, or even know what goes into creating, writing, and producing a song. For the people who do understand these concepts this album will be regarded as a golden standard. The real amazing and impressive measure of this album is that it can be so complex, but still be listenable to those who think that Taylor Swift major scales and chords of is the pinnacle of song writing.
    This album is not just Vernon's work, though it is a reflection on one's self and a nod toward self actualization, this album defines collaboration. Stretching from the abstract "Jelmore" to the smooth and digestible "RABi" Brad Cook helped Vernon take his symbolic/jaded messaging form 22, a million, and direct it, making it crisp, easily deciphered, but cryptic enough to be intriguing.
    Expand
  3. Aug 9, 2019
    10
    This album is out of our world. Beautiful, well structured with gorgeous sound.
  4. Sep 4, 2019
    9
    Another great, though less ambitious, album by a band that deserves much more credit than they get.
  5. Aug 15, 2019
    8
    Bon Iver tried to color the landscape with glitchy, staggering and minimal storytelling once again.
  6. Oct 18, 2019
    8
    As the classic debut "For Emma, Forever Ago" slips further away in the rearview mirror, Bon Iver's albums have become incrementally moreAs the classic debut "For Emma, Forever Ago" slips further away in the rearview mirror, Bon Iver's albums have become incrementally more abstract and have moved further away from traditional songwriting with each step. This trend continues with "i,i". One could argue that each one has become more interesting that the last while at the same time being less memorable each time. The Bon Iver songs I still go back to most regularly are from the debut but its a joy to be able to look forward to a completely different record each time there is a pending Bon Iver release. "i,i" is a richly textured album put together with painstaking detail. I'm in the minority who find it a step up from "22, a Million" but I do feel the experimental side of things has been more refined here. The biggest compliment I can pay "i,i" is that it is a piece of work worth of its place in Bon Iver's back catalog. Expand
  7. Sep 12, 2019
    0
    Just as bad as the last album, why Justin goes down this road of sound pollution is beyond me. The first two albums are my all time favorites.Just as bad as the last album, why Justin goes down this road of sound pollution is beyond me. The first two albums are my all time favorites. Followed by two of the worst album I've ever heard in my life :( Expand

See all 31 User Reviews