I’ll be frank about this; I wasn’t instantly attracted to this song. But things got better on subsequent hearings. To their credit Elviise offers both Swedish and English text on the website but unfortunately Elviise translates on it to ‘Elvis’ in English and he long ago left the building!
I’m also unsure whether Elviise is a person or a band. There are clearly four of them, but Elvira Johansson takes pride of place in the photos and is credited as joint songwriter here, along with Robin Nordström. The three blokes look like they could be club bouncers in the promo shots.
For the sake of brevity I’ll choose the pronoun, and opt for they/them.
Elviise made their debut only recently, in August 2020 and their first album ‘Fairy tales’ came out in November 2021. They were one of Stockholm’s finalists in the Emergenza Festival 2022 for unsigned bands and artists.
The song ‘Will we survive’ “deals with a state of mind when negative emotions control us and the dominant emotions in the song are fear, hopelessness and frustration.”
That’s true for sure. I couldn’t find a single word of optimism in the lyrics, even where there is the opportunity to make a statement of intent, for example, “All my senses, telling me to run, telling me to run, no-oh/ All my senses, screaming out loud; will we survive.” (Not “we will survive.”) And note how there is no question mark after “will we survive.” That is a statement; one of capitulation.
So what are they talking about specifically? There is no particular clue, but lines like “We say we’re fearless but do we dare to speak out?” does suggest metaphysical concepts in play; national or global philosophies that are unchallengeable.
There is a clue to that in their own PR when they say “there is a lot of fear and anxiety in the song. Fear of missing out on something and anxiety over knowing what you need to do to find hope again. Sometimes it’s about relationships that needs to end, sometimes about to stand up and say no to our world leaders.”
So – anxiety at both a micro and macro level.
Let’s look at the musical side of things.
Elviise’s strap line on social media is “Welcome to the world of Elviise. We bring up the darkness within us to the surface,” which suggests a heavy rock/metal theme to their work.
And indeed, the song starts off very much in that vein with a heavy guitar riff. But then it quickly slows down into verses that are more representative of a ballad. Then about half way through it takes off into a powerful concluding section with a little guitar break, that also happens to be the most tuneful.
It’s quite a good song. The difficulty I have with it is that Elvira’s voice sounds like it is more suited to folk ballads than rock. I’m not saying she has a weak voice, only that it does get lost somewhat in the song and they may have to mix her upwards a little more in order to maximise her contribution.
‘Will we survive’ was released on 28th December. It is the second single from a forthcoming second album.
Find them on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elviise_ (personal account)