Holocene - Bon Iver
In the end, Bon Iver’s sophomore record didn’t wind up having nearly as much staying power as Justin Vernon’s (still amazing) debut did a few years ago - at least not as a whole. Whereas the first record worked so very well as an entire and self-contained thing, a whole ultimately far greater than any of its (often very good) parts, this year’s follow-up was a different sort of beast, at least to these ears.
It was still, all in all, a good record, but it wasn’t timeless or transcendent in the ways in which its predecessor so often was. It had several interesting, even very good, parts (“Perth”, “Beth/Rest”), but the whole of it just wasn’t quite enough to garner repeated spins in my world, despite several attempts. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s context, maybe it’s the record, maybe it’s the world.
Regardless, though, “Holocene” is perfect - and reason enough to give thanks for the entire record’s existence.