“PDLIF” by Bon Iver Review

“PDLIF” by Bon Iver Review
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Justin Vernon looks at despair and sees hope. His new single, a benefit for the humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief, is titled “PDLIF,” which stands for “Please Don’t Live in Fear.” Amid the death and uncertainty of coronavirus, Vernon and his collaborators worked on the song via isolated cooperation, passing the file between them and each contributing elements to its structure. The core of the collective work is a sample from Manchester saxophonist Alabaster DePlume’s “Visit Croatia.” In that foreboding instrumental, three ascending notes tease a brighter melody that never arrives. Yet, Vernon and his co-producers, Jim-E Stack and BJ Burton, build their monument to hope upon this motif; it’s as if their construction is the realization of the happiness that DePlume withheld.

“PDLIF,” in turn, is uplifting and full-hearted, bursting with emphatic vocal performances and reassurances. The song’s segmented origins lend it a greater sense of togetherness, achieving the collage effect of Bon Iver’s i,i. The disconnected parts, whether Rob Moose’s string arrangements or Kacy Hill’s soprano, are detours into their respective sounds, inviting you to live in another’s world for a few seconds. They cohere around the DePlume motif, which functions as a reminder of the profound darkness that dictated the new song’s creation. Although this particular portion of light was born of darkness, “PDLIF” suggests patience can be found amid unusual and frightening circumstances.

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By Famous Reporters


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