Fever Queen- The World of Fever Queen (Review)
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Chicago based artist Elenor Rose Lee, known by her stage name as Fever Queen, has created an extraordinary collection of songs that will be exciting for her to look back on for years to come. An avid journaler, the level of attention that the songs on The World of Fever Queen receive is something that many other artists, even those who are bigger than her can really envy and take note from. Fever Queen creates this thoughtful time capsule, making us feel not only like a tourist through her life, but also a close friend at the same time. The World of Fever Queen is a road map of sorts, and this is definitely a road trip that you do not want to miss, as it is crafted with so much love and passion that Fever Queen has for the past, as Elanor weaves the listener through her present emotions and looks at the future, even though it is a foggy haze full of so many potential directions.
The most refreshing and apparent thing that I caught onto right away with this record is the appreciation Fever Queen has for the artists and experiences that have come before her. The best moments that convey this to the listener throughout this album is without a doubt the way she structures her songs and uses her voice to carry her songs with sometimes sparse and desolate instrumentation has quite a haunting and vintage quality to it. Songs like ‘Love Last,’ ‘Steam,’ and ‘Gravities,’ all showcase how powerful Fever Queen’s emotions are and her ability to make songs with a melodramatic tone feel fresh and exciting. I can tell that Fever Queen feels a lot and her ability to remain open throughout this whole album is something that few people can achieve. Even the most open of songwriters tend to put walls up, while there are walls on this album, the walls feel more natural here and add to the myriad of emotions that Fever Queen is experiencing in her life.
While Fever Queen knows how to craft a slower song, the highlights on this album really start to shine their way through on the faster, punchier tracks of The World of Fever Queen. ‘Night Vision’ is a track that really caught my ear. Fever Queen’s intense emotional voice added with a bouncy, fuzzy guitar is the perfect one two punch combination. It just feels right. The songwriting has a way of being serious but also snarky at times, which I really appreciated. ‘You, You’ is a really fun one to look at while talking about this quality with its lyrics that take a jab of the taste and personality of the subject Fever Queen is singing about:
‘You, you told me that my songs were too sad
but then you, you really jumped upon
the Phoebe Bridgers bandwagon
because you, you need all your
ideas to be pre-approved
and me, singing from my heart
was not Pitchfork enough for you’
I think that a lot of these lyrics throughout this album are seasoned with so many great moments that contain discovery of self, and include very stark realizations of Fever Queen and the world that surrounds her. I find this very impressive because on a lot of these songs, I feel they could be deeper or have more to them, but Fever Queen has a way of doing a lot on songs where the lyrics are a little bit more refined and lack the same level of details as you would assume an ‘open’ songwriter would have, showing her skills as a wordsmith even more.
The strings that tie this album up and add to the overall polish of The World of Fever Queen are undoubtedly the interludes and the fact that each song strings along from one to the next. The most interesting interludes on the album include the portions of cover songs that Fever Queen gives us, adding sort of this mysterious, yet timeless tone to the record. A cover of Brenda Lee’s 1960 song, ‘I’m Sorry’ plays right after the unapologetic ‘You, You.’ Both of these songs contrast so nicely against one another, yet create a deeper understanding about the situation that Fever Queen finds herself in. These moments add so much to the record. A cover of Lee Hazelwood’s ‘For One Moment’ comes towards the end of this album and it acts as another moment in which Fever Queen shows us her appreciation for the artists that have come before her, but also adding a new sense of meaning to this song as it gets added in with the context of this record.
These two covers may not be the most interesting interlude track we receive on The World of Fever Queen, however. ‘Bear Dream’ is a moment that I absolutely love, and would like to see Fever Queen take this concept even further. A massive part of the journaling experience is the recollection of dreams, and that is exactly what we see Fever Queen delving into on ‘Bear Dream.’ It is, essentially, a dream she had that contains bears. There is so much more here, however. Without giving too much away, a bear cub makes its way into Fever Queen’s house, but the dream becomes this piece about uncertainty and the people around her. I love how this just feels like she just got up and is telling us about this experience she just had, and would love to hear more recollections of dreams in a future Fever Queen album, or we might even get lucky and receive a spoken word album just filled to the brim with dreams and abstract thoughts from the journal of Fever Queen.
The World of Fever Queen is an album that deserves so much more attention than it is currently receiving. It works so well as a time capsule in a stranger’s life and listeners can extract so many similarities to their feelings and current situations as they are presented on the album so personally, but also universally. Fever Queen uses her own inspirations in a way that drives and propels her work forward, instead of letting it get bogged down in her own obsessions, which sometimes tends to happen on records of this nature. With songs that are catchy and lyrics that act as a wall of mystery, but also are seamlessly open, Fever Queen tells us what is going on in her life in such a charming and thought provoking way. This is quite the achievement and Fever Queen should be proud of what she was able to encapsulate within The World of Fever Queen.
Favorite tracks: Night Vision, Good Mistake, Steam
Least Favorite track: Gravities
Listen to 'Night Vision,' a song off of The World of Fever Queen, below: