Bon Iver’s Canted Universe

Bon Iver

Justin Vernon’s 2016 full-length as Bon Iver, 22, A Million, isn’t just a career-jarring reboot of his sound; it’s a radical revision of the singer-songwriter template. Instead of the guitar-based meditations of previous efforts, the musician erects alien constructions from cyborg falsetto, Auto-Tune-smeared soul, baroque electronica, and bass drops splitting the difference between post-dubstep and modern R&B. Man and machine, nervous system and motherboard — their differences fall by the wayside with each successive cut. In hopes of deepening listeners’ appreciation of this profoundly mutant offering, I’ve put together a mix of key inspirations (Kanye West, Arthur Russell), peers exploring similar ideas (Frank Ocean, James Blake), and illuminating examples of sampled source material (Mahalia Jackson, Sharon Van Etten). Hopefully, you’ll find our playlist to be as deliciously novel and immersive as 22, A Million itself.