Review: Savages – Adore Life

Adore Life is a confrontational record. From the instant one is exposed to its raw sounds and earnest sentiment, one thing remains clear: Savages have something to say, and they fucking mean it.

The title, Adore Life, is less of a title and more of a commandment from band lyricist and vocalist, Jehnny Beth. This, in itself, should serve as no revelation given the name of Savages’ debut record Silence Yourself, however there is a fundamental difference to their most recent release. “The last one was the problem,” Beth told journalist Laura Snapes during the recording of the album. “This one’s the solution.”

As Savages’ take on the solution, Adore Life naturally begins with ‘The Answer’, a driving declaration in the form of a ferocious three-and-a-half minute single. The associative music video, which itself is brilliant, is unrelenting from the opening line in which Jehnny Beth ponders the way sex can influence relationships.

“There are things I know we should
Better not do, but I know you could
Sleep with me
And we’d still be friends
Or I know
I’ll go insane”

As is the case throughout Adore Life, Savages take on love in a way that seems light-years away from the constellation of cliches that have been created, reused, and recycled over the years. From the perspective of Jehnny Beth, love isn’t simply a positive feeling, but rather a volatile chemical that must be respected and handled carefully at the risk of endangering others in the process. Beth doubles-down on the sentiment on the third track, ‘Sad Person’, in which the metaphor of love as a dangerous element is drawn again:

“Love is a disease
The strongest addiction I know
What happens in the brain
Is the same as the rush of cocaine
The more you have
The more you crave”

If love is the answer, then Adore Life is a record in which Savages grapple with their solution. The title track, ‘Adore’, serves as the album’s thesis, in which Jehnny Beth laments over her decisions in life, only to leave the listener with the lasting refrain “I adore life.” Faced with the finality of death, Savages scream back at the void as if to adore life while in clear defiance of its boundaries.

“I understand the undergency of life
In the distance, there is an edge that cuts like a knife
Maybe I will die, maybe tomorrow, so I need to say

I adore life”

As much as Savages settled on love as the solution, the realization is one that seems to create equal parts anguish and hope. Looking at the lyrics of ‘Adore’ a little more closely, it is hard to ignore the hint made during the hook, especially after having heard the third verse.

“If only I had been more shy
And hid every tear I cried
If only I didn’t wish to die
Is it human to adore life?”

If love is fleeting, then so too is the solution. This serves as both the source of frustration and spirit of celebration found on Adore Life, an album which masterfully casts love as a dark force in order for Savages to properly grapple with it. Savages have written an album full of songs about love, but these are not “love songs” as we understand them. While setting out “to write the loudest songs ever,” lyricist Jehnny Beth happened to settle on one of the most powerful concepts known to humanity, and the result is a brilliant album that reflects both the raw joy and frustration that can be associated with love.

But fear not, dear listener. Love is the answer. If love fails, at least we’ll have Savages.


Online Editor