When I first heard Silence Yourself, the yowlingly excellent new album from the British band Savages, I needed it badly. I felt like microwaved death and I was pretty sure that if anyone around me so much as turned their head in my direction, I would do unspeakable things in order to make sure that didn’t ever happen again. But you know what works incredibly well to alleviate that kind of mega-rage? EVERY SINGLE SONG ON THIS ALBUM. On tracks like “Hit Me” and “City’s Full,” the guitars claw at the world so you don’t have to. The lyrics are unstoppably furious at even the slightest idea of external persecution, often to an (occasionally goofy) hyperbolic level. And isn’t that just what you need when your brain is just a marquee scrolling “Fuck the world” on a loop?
It turns out that the perfect, snarling validation of being angry at everything around you that the band elicits from listeners in their music pairs quite well with their politics. Because they really are implicating just about every idea of being oppressed that they can cram into the lyrics of this brutal and concise album. They condemn social institutions like marriage on the damning “Husbands,” where they repeat that they “gotta get rid of…” before shrieking the word “husbands” over and over. On “Shut Up,” their frustrations are just as simply put: “If you’d tell me to shut up…I’m like the bullets through the sand to the sun.” But although the band is straightforward in expressing their ideas, they do so in a way that’s general enough to allow listeners to interpret them however they might need to on a personal level.
While it’s interesting to focus on the politics that Savages invite listeners to pay attention to in interviews, in their lyrics, these ideas are more vague. They come across not as a “feminist” or “political” band, but instead as a group of musicians who are able to perfectly mirror more universal feelings of social and emotional confinement. Savages uses their platform to rip through the idea of being alienated by the outside world, which all listeners can relate to on some level, regardless of their politics. So if their artistic goal, as Gemma Thompson said in an interview with The Guardian, is to “understand…where each human being stands,” they’ve done a hell of a good job of achieving it.
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