Every time a new Bon Iver track is released, I have to prepare myself emotionally. All of their songs spark something in me that I can’t help but let out and ‘PDLIF’ is no different.
‘PDLIF’ stands for “please don’t live in fear”, which is also the very first line on the track. The song was created in isolation and passed around to various collaborators over a period of time, allowing them to put their mark on the piece and build something great whilst still social distancing. It’s a project to keeping people together and with so many beautiful layers, ‘PDLIF’ really makes you feel good, despite being created in a dangerous global situation.
Justin Vernon’s signature airy vocals are complimented by enigmatic harmonies, smooth string arrangements and a scattered beat on ‘PDLIF’. A strong three-tone saxophone sample from Manchester saxophonist Alabaster DePlume, pulls everything together and serves as the foundation that collaborators were able to build from throughout the recording process.
Every element of ‘PDLIF’ may have been created in isolation, but they’re still able to work together to emulate a sense of lightness and hope. When you listen to the track, it makes you feel calm, comforted and as if the troublesome parts of the world don’t exist. The soft atmospherics cradle the different instrumentals to create a very calm vibe and it feels like a warm hug, telling you everything is going to be okay.
When I feel like I need a cry, I listen to ‘Holocene’. When I need to feel stronger, I listen to ‘10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄.’ and now, when I need to feel comforted, I’ll be listening to ‘PDLIF’.