Bon Iver has come a loooooooong way since I first heard of him and For Emma, Forever Ago. A long way. And I feel nothing but pride in having known him since “Flume.” But this self titled album is no “Flume.” The high pitched, warbling vocals that he was so known for before are all but gone on this album. He’s here with a bigger sound, a deeper voice, and a higher profile after being featured on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. And when it dropped, everyone knew it was something special. It took me a while to appreciate the new sound though. Maybe I wasn’t ready for high pitched Iver to leave. Maybe I secretly loved the romantic idea of a guy hiding in the mountains and making beautiful music (though I’d never admit it). But leave he did and he returned with nothing short of a revamped, refurbished sound, becoming not just a guy in a cabin, but a guy in a recording studio, putting in the production of Yeezy himself. I think I knew he had changed though, when on “Holocene” he curses in the 3rd line, “You fucked it friend, its on its head.” The old Justin Vernon would never have cursed. He has become confident, so confident that he was starting to take risks. Because this album was a risk to be sure. It was a huge step away from what fans were anticipating and the plan could have gone very wrong. But the main change in his music now is that he knows he’s good, and he is gonna curse if he wants.