Bastille’s “Survivin’” Is A Welcome Rallying Cry


Bastille released their new single, “survivin’,” on Sept. 22.

Julian Shuttleworth, Contributing Writer

“2020 is the year that we all stopped pretending that everything’s fine,” said Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille, when discussing their new single “survivin’,” which was released on Sept. 22. With vulnerable lyrics juxtaposed by an upbeat sound, Bastille puts their spin on contemporary pop while motivating listeners to make it to the end of the year. 

With “survivin’,” Bastille reminds us that it is perfectly okay –– healthy, even — to let our guard down and admit that we’re struggling. This message is repeated in every chorus, with the lyrics “Crawlin’ out these sheets to see another day / What can I say? I’m survivin’ / And I’m gonna be fine, I’m gonna be fine / I think I’ll be fine.” After all, this is all that we can ask of ourselves each day — to wake up and push through. While the temptation to disguise the fact that we’re struggling is certainly relatable for American listeners, Bastille sought to challenge a British cultural norm with the single. To quote Smith once more, “When people asked me how I was doing, the answer was always the British cliché: ‘Yep, all good, fine.’” 

Despite there being days when we all struggle, the presence of social media and a desire to project strength leads us to try and put our best foot forward, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. It seems as though it would be impossible to allude to such serious topics in an upbeat way, yet Bastille accomplishes it with flying colors in “survivin’.” Instead of dwelling on the topics that they allude to in the lyrics, the synthesized instrumentals’ tempo motivates the listener to get through whatever they may be having a hard time with. 

One of the unique things about “survivin’” is that the lyrics often seem to overshadow the background instrumentals. Instead of complementing the melodies and saxophone solos, the lyrics carry the song, making it sound like a rallying cry of sorts. It is the kind of song that makes you want to get up and sing along, to scream it at the top of your lungs as we continue to push through every day. One certainly gets the sense that Bastille opened their hearts onto the page for “survivin’” and let everything that they had been feeling for the past few months out onto the track. The special thing about a song like this is how historically significant it is. Listening to it feels as though all of one’s feelings from the past year are being summarized and put into a time capsule. Listeners could return to this song years in the future and remember exactly how they felt in 2020 — how they battled, how they persevered.  

Whether you need a push to motivate you to start some schoolwork or simply a song to sing along to in the car with the windows rolled down, “survivin’” is the tune for you. It encapsulates the year that we’ve gone through but remains upbeat, looking forward to the future where things may be different, and hopefully better. “Survivin’” is undoubtedly different from Bastille’s other hit songs like “Pompeii” and “Good Grief” in that it embraces the pop sound more than they often have. However, this is a welcome surprise and is executed with lovely vocals and a socially conscious message.