Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner return with an impressive cast of collaborators. After extensive work with Taylor Swift on her albums Folklore and Evermore, the two folk-rockers enlisted Swift, Anaïs Mitchell, Sharon Van Etten, Fleet Foxes, Ben Howards, Naeem, and many others for a follow up to Big Red Machine's 2018 eponymous debut. The result is a grateful retrospective and celebration of friendship, heavily inspired by “The Last Waltz,” Martin Scorsese’s seminal concert film that documented The Band’s farewell show. Another major theme of the album is mental health awareness. While “Renegade,” the poppiest track on the whole album, definitely feels more like a Taylor Swift song as a single, it works so well in the context of the album, describing the care and frustrations of a relationship in which a partner is dealing with intense anxiety. Likewise, the penultimate track “Brycie,” named after The National’s Bryce Dessner, is a song of brotherly love, thanking him for his support during Aaron’s bouts of depression. While a record like How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last? runs the risk of being yet another self-indulgent, gloomy quarantine record (Vernon did write For Emma, Forever Ago, after all), it instead chooses the path of optimism and togetherness. 15 tracks on red vinyl.
- red colored double vinyl pressing
- indie exclusive
- housed in full color gatefold jacket w/ printed inner sleeves
- digital download included
- music label: Jagjaguwar 2021
reviewed by SHH! 08/2021