Review: Bon Iver – ‘PDLIF’


Bon Iver have unsurprisingly delivered another soothing single, perfect to listen to during lockdown.

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‘PDLIF’ stands for ‘Please Don’t Live In Fear’, which gives listeners an instant impression of the beautiful nature of this single. Its title, as well as its content, provides a suitable single to listen to during lockdown for many people, and it is soothing in its lyrics and soft musical accompaniment.

Bon Iver have enhanced their experimental techniques since their first releases, and this is most notably evident in their most recent albums 22, A Million and i,i. ‘PDLIF’ seems to exhibit a combination of both older Bon Iver releases, like For Emma, Forever Ago, and some of their newer, more experimental works. The interesting timbres used in this single are a definite link to i,i, and it is wonderful to listen to a single that incorporates many aspects of an artist’s musical career. As well as showcasing some wonderful sounds, all proceeds of this single are going towards Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organisation working to protect both workers and patients during this difficult time.

‘PDLIF’ begins with heavy beats, and when the vocals enter it really starts to sound like what every Bon Iver single is known for. The gorgeous tones of Justin Vernon permeate through the soothing and unique musical accompaniment. Vernon’s vocals are not the only soothing aspect to this single – its lyrics are exactly what many of us need to hear right now. Vernon sings beautifully, “Please don’t live in fear”, “Send it off from here / And free your mind” and “While I’m not gonna tell you that everyone’s safe, I will say, there will be a better day”.

As the song progresses, there is an inevitable build-up, with drums and musical accompaniment behind the gorgeously layered vocals. This build-up works effectively in the single in creating powerful emotion, which is so often seen in many Bon Iver songs.

The song closes with one last powerful “Please don’t live in fear”, whilst synths fade in and out to finally end one of the best songs written in this difficult time. I would recommend everyone, whether or not you’re a fan of Bon Iver, to play this song at some point and allow it to soothe you in its beautiful timbres and lyrics.

‘PDLIF’ is available to listen to now via Jagjaguwar.


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

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