Review: Bon Iver – ‘Hey, Ma’


Filled with sentimentality and gorgeous melodies, this is a song to be played at the loudest volume.

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With the release of 22, A Million in 2016, Bon Iver’s music has obviously progressed and altered rather drastically from some of their older work. Throughout the past 12 years, Bon Iver have consistently satisfied their wide, ever-growing fanbase. As two new singles have been released, including ‘Hey, Ma’, it’s clear that Bon Iver refuse to settle on a defining genre, and are still very open in the exploration of genres and techniques.

‘Hey, Ma’ has clear links to the music of 22, A Million, particularly in its filtered vocals. However, there are also evident influences from older albums like For Emma, Forever Ago (2007) in the gorgeous chord progressions and emotive harmonies throughout. Justin Vernon’s vocals never fail to impress, especially when the lyrics hold such sentimental value.

The lyrics display a clear homage to Vernon’s mother, as he seems to recall childhood memories whilst highlighting a consistent reliance on his mum, particularly shown in Vernon’s words, ‘Full time, you talk your money up / While it’s living in a coal mine / Tall time to call your Ma / Hey Ma, hey Ma’. Alongside the catchy melody, the addictive quality of ‘Hey, Ma’ most certainly lies in its rather cryptic, but nonetheless sentimental, lyrics.

‘Hey, Ma’ is definitely on par with the perfection of Bon Iver’s past albums, and it’s a song which needs to be played at the loudest volume to fully appreciate Vernon’s mastery.

Bon Iver’s ‘Hey, Ma’ is available now via Jagjaguwar.


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Live Editor 2019/20 & third year English student. Probably watching Gilmore Girls

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