Music by VICE

It's Time to Cry While Listening to Bernice's Ode to Sadness, "David"

Sometimes to get better and happier, you have to feel low.

by Sarah MacDonald
May 11 2017, 2:06pm

Photo by Claire Harvie

There is a lyric from Tegan and Sara's "Don't Confess" off of their sophomore If It Was You that goes, "you won't get better til you get worse." It's a sentiment that rolls around uncomfortably for a minute until it starts to make some sense. From joy to boredom to sadness, feeling the spectrum of feelings is important. Sometimes to get better and happier, you have to feel the pain. Happiness is, maybe, ideal but that's not real and believing in that fails anyone who has a contrary emotion.

Toronto's Bernice tackles the concept of sadness and highlights an inherently layered beauty in not participating in performative emotions on their new track "David" from their forthcoming EP Puff. Robin Dann of Bernice croons, "he's not okay… won't let anyone help him" over soft drums and synths. "David" isn't about one specific person and is meant to be more collective, something that allows for a broader connection among listeners. According to Dann, "David is the name I chose [for the song] to be everyone at once. He was a king of Scotland, the King of Israel, 'beloved' boy. I wanted the name to be a symbol of the lows that everyone can feel, but some feel so much more deeply than others." Dann continues: "The song is a sort of ode to sadness, and to all of the ugly and beautiful layers it brings to life."

The electro R&B group create a mesmerizing sound on "David" — so much so that it is easy to hit repeat on the track and you only realize a handful of hours later that's all you've been listening to. It's a mental balm of sorts. And while the track can sound and feel perhaps a little bit too grim, there is an optimistic note threaded near the end. Dann sings: "He's ready again/he wasn't back then/just give him something to believe in."

Listen to the track below:

Coincidentally, Sarah's cat is named Puff. Follow her on Twitter.