Pierce the Veil has spoken, and I’m listening: “Pass the Nirvana” Song Review

“Pass the Nirvana,” their new single, gets straight to the point with grungy guitars and a beat made for head-banging, although it is more subdued than their previous music. 

Image via Pierce the Veil Official Website.

Image via Pierce the Veil Official Website.

Piper Summer, Contributing Writer

On October 21st, 2017, Pierce the Veil played for the last time in the United States before their hiatus. That show in Tucson, Arizona was the first and last show I saw to date. 

As a super fan for the past six years, I was heartbroken when they disappeared. Discovering them just before leaving middle school, it seems like fate they released a song on September 1st, 2022: the day I set off for college in Boston. 

A lot can happen in six years, and I was initially apprehensive about listening to the song. I was worried they may have abandoned their post-hardcore sensibilities for something closer to pop, like many of my other favorite bands from a similar genre have. Delightfully, they have largely stayed true to their voice and are doing it better than ever. 

“Pass the Nirvana,” their new single, gets straight to the point with grungy guitars and a beat made for head-banging, although it is more subdued than their previous music. 

The song eases into a nice rhythm, Vic Fuentes’ vocals taking the forefront for most of the song. It’s clear that Fuentes has taken the time to improve his vocal craft yet still maintains some of the signature whininess fans can appreciate and have missed. 

A screamo section also returns, a trademark in many Pierce the Veil songs. Jaime Preciado’s bass riffs shine between the bridge and chorus, and I hope that more of his talent will be on display in the forthcoming album. 

Guitarist duo Fuentes and Tony Perry make for an incredible team, the guitars complimenting each other on the track rather than competing. The studio drummer Paul Meany, who is also the producer, takes a back seat in this song and allows different aspects to take the wheel. 

Lyrically, the song is incredibly timely. Coming out of the pandemic into a changed world, for better or worse, leads many to have trouble handling intense emotions. 

While the song directly touches on gentrification and gun violence, the lyrics hint at the larger issue of how we cope with an increasingly adverse and complex world. 

The chorus of the song, “Give up, give up, I can’t hear you, / Through the tension, through the tension,” is a mantra, representing how hard it can be to focus when our lives, both personally and politically, are painted with conflict and tragedy. 

Enduring a global pandemic, hundreds of school shootings a year, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are just some of the issues that young adults are grappling with in addition to the challenges that come with growing up.

“‘Pass the Nirvana’ is about the many horrible traumas that the youth of America have endured over the past few years. COVID, no proms, no graduations, an insurrection, school shootings. The list goes on,” said Fuentes.

“Their lives have been tossed around like clothes in a dryer, as the tensions within our country have infiltrated our own homes, friends, and families. To me, the song represents a euphoric detachment from all of that anxiety and stress and about finding some form of peace or nirvana.”

For many Pierce the Veil fans, being able to return to their concerts will be a welcome reprieve from the challenges of daily life, and the pending release of their album promises an exciting future for the band. 

As Fuentes sings in “Hell Above,” a song about finding a temporary home in rock shows, “The water is rusted, the air is unclean, / And there for a second, I feel free / This is a wasteland, my only retreat.” 

While I hardly feel MGM Music Hall at Fenway is a wasteland, I am excited to hear Pass the Nirvana, a new favorite, play live on November 19th, 2022, alongside old favorites in an energizing break from my everyday routine.