From Las Vegas, Nevada, Survive This! brings experimental blends of rock, punk and pop music together, forging an innovative sound on life and love. Featuring Shawn Zyvoloski (Vocals), Doug Horn (Bass), Daniel Ingram (Guitar), Billy Sanderson (Drums) and AJ Veloz (Guitar), the band worked closely with Ronnie Radke (Falling In Reverse) to craft an album outlining the perfect and not-so-perfect roads we travel. They do not shy away from difficult concepts in their songs, but prefer to face serious issues head on with honesty and enthusiasm. Their debut release, The Life You’ve Chosen, was met with an ever-increasing fan base, but sparked heated debate over a song that was misconstrued from the beginning.
Sexism is a serious issue, not a new age catch phrase. Lyrics from the song “Pardon Me” have stirred some of the most vehement remarks to date for Survive This!. And they should, because the song addresses a wide range of dark emotions associated with infidelity, but it is not a sexist statement. Zyvoloski explains, “The truth of it is that we wrote the song to have a very nice chorus and very chaotic verses because when you’ve been cheated on, or when you’ve been hurt so bad, you go through this bi-polar storyline in your head.” The emotional pain of infidelity brings a longing for the good times to return in the soft, melodic chorus and contrasts anger and frustration in the strong language of the verses. Is it nice? No, but it is the reality of cheating in any relationship and applies to men and women equally. Some words from the song, “Just wait till I get my hands on you/ bleed bitch bleed” have often been interpreted as a violent threat. However, on critical analysis of the entire song, the line becomes an expression of comeuppance. The first verse describes the lies that a cheating partner tells and how they are discovered. The line in question foretells the deception coming to light and warns that even if you ‘bleed’ more lies, it will not change the truth. Assuming that only men have these feelings is a form of sexism by the naysayers, because it diminishes that women can also experience this kind of pain.
Negative controversy can often lead to positive change. Lyrics in the second verse, “I’ve never beat a woman before, but you’re wearing me thin” is one of the most misunderstood lines in the song. Taken at face value, it may seem like a call for violence toward women, but considering the lyrics before and after, it is clear that the words are spoken before leaving a relationship for good. Because beating women is not an option, and the subject is at the end of his rope, the lyrics are his statement before he walks out the door (and out of the relationship) forever. By transitioning from this verse to the soft pleading chorus, the message conveyed is to remember the happiness you once had and get out before the pain leads you to act aggressively. Recognizing the potential for violence, even when it goes against your true nature, is the first step to preventing violence.
You can’t judge a book by its cover. The same can be said for music. If you pick and choose words from any song without consideration of the entire piece, you are bound to miss the true meaning. I discussed these issues at length with Zyvoloski and found him to be a man who is at odds with the controversy surrounding the song. He was honest and open with me in describing the personal distress that rumors of sexism and violence have caused him. Zyvoloski says, “We wanted to put across how bad it (infidelity) can affect another person’s life. We don’t believe in cheating. We don’t believe in sexism or abuse. What we were trying to do is say this (infidelity) is hurtful, this is what it creates.” The song features a dark subject matter, but it would be a mistake of epic proportions to allow unfounded negativity to define the band. “Pardon Me” is a heads up for anyone, male or female, who has cheated or is thinking about cheating on someone who loves them. I will add this song to my playlist as a reminder that I never want to cause or feel the pain of infidelity.