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Study Guide

7 Songs to Prepare You for Bon Iver's '22, A Million' Curveball

The band's first album in more than five years, due Sept. 30, is set to feature a flood of Auto-Tune and electronic songcraft—but it's not as much of a departure as you might think

1 / 7

Bon Iver's "Heavenly Father"

It's tricky to imagine even the most ardent Bon Iver fans having an easy time with that droning, glitchy layered-vocals opener, but it wasn't too tough to learn to love this 2014 one-off in the end. "Heavenly Father" is a pretty direct predecessor to 22, A Million, as we've already heard with the studio version of album opener "22 (OVER S∞∞N)":

2 / 7

James Blake's "I Need a Forest Fire" feat. Bon Iver

This Vernon co-written track from The Colour in Anything offers more of that glitchiness, although with top-of-the-line 2016 production. James Blake's whole album is a decent appetizer for 22, A Million, particularly the other tracks with Vernon credits, "Two Men Down" and the finale "Meet You in the Maze."

3 / 7

Volcano Choir's "Acetate"

Vernon dropped two side project albums in 2013: One was Grownass Man, a hunk of blues-rock from The Shouting Matches. The other was Volcano Choir's Repave, full of experimental instrumentation and wildly shifting songs. Depending on the final version of 22, A Million, we're guessing this wouldn't be out of place as a B-side.

4 / 7

GAYNGS' cover of Sade's "By Your Side"

This 2010 side project performance was an early indicator of the emotional heft Justin Vernon could carry through Auto-Tune among busy, avant-garde musicianship.

5 / 7

Bon Iver's "Woods"

2009's Blood Bank EP spent one of its four songs on an a cappella Auto-Tune vocal-stacking experiment that wound up forming the spine for Kanye West's "Lost in the World." Having spent significant time with clips of Bon Iver's 22, A Million debut performed at Justin Vernon's Wisconsin festival Eaux Claires, we can safely say "Woods" is faithfully succeeded by "715 - CRΣΣKS." It's not just the mirrored nature-y titles; the bound-for-classic-status "715 - CRΣΣKS" follows the exact same M.O. as "Woods" except in a deeper register and with more words.

6 / 7

James Blake and Bon Iver's "Fall Creek Boys Choir"

Another somewhat challenging Auto-Tune fiesta, this one's definitely got a through line to 22, A Million.

7 / 7

Bon Iver's "Perth" live with The Roots

From 2012, another early example of Vernon's ability to transform his familiar sound into something spiritually on-message and sonically off the wall—and another all-out declaration of love for Auto-Tune.

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Photo of the day

Apr 2: Basket-Bros

Currently on his 'The Man of the Woods' tourJustin Timberlake brought out a special guest for his Cleveland show. LeBron James surprised concertgoers by showing up alongside Timberlake and taking a shot on stage. On Friday, the singer was also seen cheering on LeBron during the Pelicans and Cavaliers game. James gave a shout out on Instagram, "My brother @justintimberlake showed up and showed out last night at the Q! One of the greatest to ever do it in my lifetime and still going strong."