Bon Iver season approaching? Literally? Already? Well there’s some good news to soothe your quarantine-addled souls. Less than a year after i,i, a band that famously takes its sweet time between albums is back with a new song billed as the first episode of Bon Iver Season Five. And it’s not “Things Behind Things Behind Things,” the song Justin Vernon debuted on a recent Bernie Sanders livestream.
The new single is called “PDLIF,” which stands for “Please Don’t Live In Fear.” Vernon produced it with his close collaborator BJ Burton and Jim-E Stack. Some of the many other contributions include vocals from Kacy Hill, string arrangements by Rob Moose, and a sample from Alabaster DePlume’s “Visit Croatia.” The collaborators passed around the files while isolated from each other, and despite the physical distance they sound completely in sync. “PDLIF” is a genuine evolution within the Bon Iver canon, blowing out the deconstructed beauty of the group’s last two albums into luscious new shapes and textures, guided as ever by Vernon’s stubbly, spectral falsetto.
I don’t know whether we should understand “PDLIF” as the lead single from a new album, or if Bon Iver are adopting a song-by-song approach like what Gorillaz are doing with their Song Machine project. All I can tell you is that this song is very, very good. Listen below.
“PDLIF” is out now on Jagjaguwar. All proceeds from the song will go to the humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief.