For Emma, Forever Ago
Released: July 8, 2007
Charted: March 8, 2008
Peak: 64 US, 42 UK, -- CN, 32 AU
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.3 UK, 1.3 world (includes US and UK)
Total Running Time: 37:11
4.169 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
For Emma, Forever Ago is “the most unlikely masterpiece…It’s heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.” FO “It’s one man’s journey from battling back from the brink and always makes for a therapeutic listen.” FO
“Justin Vernon didn’t plan on reshaping a generation’s understanding of love-torn folk music” RS’20 when he retreated for nearly four months to his father’s remote hunting cabin in the woods of Wisconsin after breaking up with his girlfriend. It was there that he wrote and recorded most of the songs on “his haunting” AMG “falsetto-laden DIY debut,” RS’20 For Emma, Forever Ago. He “poured his existential crisis into his music and made one of the albums of the decade.” FO
“A few parts (horns, drums, and backing vocals) were added in a North Carolina studio, but for the majority of the time it’s just Vernon, his utterly disarming voice, and his enchanting songs. The voice is the first thing you notice. Vernon’s falsetto soars like a hawk and when he adds harmonies and massed backing vocals, it can truly be breathtaking.” AMG
“The Wolves (Acts I & II) truly shows what Vernon can do as he croons, swoops, and cajoles his way through an erratic and enchanting melody like Marvin Gaye after a couple trips to the backyard still.” AMG The “heartsick” RS’20 Skinny Love “shows more of his range as he climbs down from the heights of falsetto and shouts out the angry and heartachey words quite convincingly.” AMG
“Framing his voice are suitably subdued arrangements built around acoustic guitars and filled out with subtle electric guitars, the occasional light drums, and slide guitar. Vernon has a steady grasp of dynamics too; the ebb and flow of Creature Fear is powerfully dramatic and when the chorus hits it’s hard not to be swept away by the flood of tattered emotion.” AMG
“Almost every song has a moment where the emotion peaks and hearts begin to weaken and bend: the beauty of that voice is what pulls you through every time. For Emma captures the sound of broken and quiet isolation, wraps it in a beautiful package, and delivers it to your door with a beating, bruised heart.” AMG
What was most surprising is how the music “would reshape the contours of the pop mainstream – from Ed Sheeran and Kanye West to James Blake and Taylor Swift — for years to come.” RS’20 “It’s quite an achievement for a debut and the promise of greatness in the future is high.” AMG
Notes: “Wisconsin” was added as an iTunes bonus track.
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First posted 4/27/2022; last updated 4/28/2022.