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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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November 21: King Kendrick

Kendrick Lamar graces the cover of Variety magazine, where he discusses his praised career, slew of hits, the country's political state and more. “America will survive once it recognizes the position it’s in, and the trials that it’s facing. Once people stop being nonchalant to it and recognize it, that’s when," he explains. "When it’s not something that’s just swept under the rug because we’re the quote-unquote ‘greatest country in the world.’”