Pick of the Week: Bon Iver “Second Nature”

Bon Iver "Second Nature"
Graphics by Sarah Tarlin

By Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

Bon Iver makes an emotional plea with “Second Nature.” The song closes out the soundtrack of the recently released Netflix satire Don’t Look Up. 



Like the movie, the lyrics of “Second Nature” approach the topic of climate change in a rather poetic, indirect manner, although the message still comes strongly through. 

Singing with melancholy and desperation in his voice, Bon Iver questions if destruction is human instinct. “Is this our first, or second nature,” he begins the song. Going on, he comments on greed pushing to a world lacking mother nature that humans are forced to desert. 

But amid these unfortunate musings, there is hope. “There is another fate, a way, to not be too late; un-obfuscate,” Bon Iver sings. With these lines, he encourages taking action and making a return to connecting with nature.



Stylistically, “Second Nature” sees Bon Iver’s generally stripped-back style reach new heights. A dynamic soundscape is built through post-production layers and effects as well as a supporting orchestra. And yet, the emotional depth of Justin Vernon’s singing is conveyed just as well as when it’s simply him and his guitar. 



“Second Nature” was co-written by Don’t Look Up’s film composer Nicholas Britell. Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner joins Bon Iver for backing vocals, yMusic’s CJ Camerieri contributes french horn and trumpet, and Rob Moose plays the strings.

The song was created for the soundtrack of Don’t Look Up which also includes songs by Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi. Don’t Look Up, filmed in several local spots from South Station to Brockton, came out on December 25. 

While able to be appreciated on its own, hearing “Second Nature" in the context of the movie makes it all the more moving. It serves as a bittersweet reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of working against climate change.


Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!

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