Survivin'

Album: Goosebumps (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • This lyrically defiant song finds Bastille frontman Dan Smith reflecting on anxiety, self-doubt and the sometimes overwhelming nature of modern life.
  • Smith started writing "Survivin'" shortly before the COVID-19 lockdown. He set out to pen a direct and honest account of the highs and lows of Bastille's journey since the release of their first studio album, Bad Blood, in 2013. "There'd been times when I felt like I'd been in a washing machine and on a conveyor belt at the same time," Smith said. "But when people asked me how I was doing, the answer was always the British cliché: 'Yep, all good, fine.'"
  • Once the coronavirus pandemic started spreading worldwide, the song's lyrics took on a whole new poignancy. Smith told Apple Music he was initially self-conscious about how relevant the song's subject matter turned out to be. "Then I realized that 2020 is the year we all stopped pretending everything's fine," he said. "I suppose like a lot of Bastille's music, [it's about] optimism and hope in a dystopian world."
  • "Survivin'" is very sparse until the "almost shockingly loud" hook. Smith explained that he wanted the chorus to hit like a "warm enveloping hug from a gang of friends."
  • The track features prominent saxophone by Bastille's touring member John "Rittipo" Moore. "We wanted his sax lines to be obnoxiously loud and we wanted them to make people smile," said Smith.
  • Directed by London-based British/Iranian director Reza Dolatabadi, the animated video follows a guy who's suddenly taken on an otherworldly adventure. The clip draws on both Reza's love of American realist artist Edward Hopper, and Dan Smith's admiration for surrealist filmmaker Federico Fellini.

    Dolatabadi's passion for street photography also provides inspiration, creating a visual that gently brings the falling away sentiment of the song to life. "Overall, I wanted to give the video a grand feel, almost like it belongs on the big screen, and for that we had to build a city in 3D, lock all the camera angles and movements and then animate our characters over the 3D layouts," the director explained.

    Dolatabad also shot the video for Bastille's previous single, "What You Gonna Do???."
  • The song is included on Bastille's Goosebumps EP. It is accompanied on the record by a live performance of "Survivin'" recorded in Bastille's One Eyed Jack's London studio.

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