Melanie on Music: Bastille provides unique sounds, thoughtful lyrics
I was first introduced to Bastille when one of my friends recommended their song “Flaws.” The song’s unique, almost electronic sound immediately caught my interest, and I began to search for more of their music.
“Haunt” and “Pompeii” were the next two I found, and I was surprised by how different all of these songs were from each other. They all had a certain sound that made them distinctively “Bastille,” but each had an aspect that made it different and easy to distinguish from the others. By now, I’ve listened to all of Bastille’s music, and their uniqueness has been consistent.
Bastille is a British band with a combination of indie, alternative and pop styles. Dan Smith is the lead vocalist and songwriter, although he also occasionally plays the keyboard. His three bandmates are Kyle Simmons (on keyboard, percussion, bass and synthesizer), Will Farquarson (on bass, keyboard and acoustic guitar) and Chris Wood (on drums). All three work together on the backing vocals, which is one of the things that connects all of Bastille’s songs.
While they vary from song to song, they’re all very catchy. Usually backing vocals easily escape my notice, but Bastille utilizes them in a way that makes them vital to their sound, and also gets them stuck in my head. But there are also many other factors that make Bastille’s songs so catchy.
One is Smith’s voice, which is memorable and distinctive — with an almost breathy quality — and his audible British accent adds to this. And all of Bastille’s songs are also catchy and unique because of their creative lyrics. They’re always thoughtful and open to interpretation, which gives me the chance to think as I listen.
Some of Bastille’s lyrics use different past events or stories as metaphors for current times. “Pompeii” uses the infamous destruction of the ancient Roman city as a metaphor for a person whose life is facing a similar destruction. This comparison is best shown through the lyrics, “And the walls kept tumbling down in the city that we love / Great clouds roll over the hills bringing darkness from above.”
Another one of their songs that uses a strong metaphor is “Icarus.” In Greek mythology, Icarus tried to escape from Crete with his father by using wings made of wax, but he flew too close to the sun and his wings melted, resulting in his death. “Icarus” uses this story as a metaphor for young people who live unhealthy lifestyles, specifically alcoholism.
Although “Icarus” is my favorite Bastille song, “Laughter Lines” is a close second. It tells the story of two people who are separating but part with the lyrics, “I’ll see you in the future when we’re older and we are full of stories to be told / Cross my heart and hope to die / I’ll see you with your laughter lines.”
The idea of laughter lines is used as a symbol for growing older, and the two in the song hope they will meet again when they’re older. Besides the relatable subject, the song is also so memorable to me because of the music itself. Most noticeable is the string accompaniment in the chorus, which adds to the sweeping, hopeful melody.
Bastille has released one studio album, “Bad Blood,” which is available for $9.99 on iTunes. They also released a reissue of this album called “All This Bad Blood,” which includes several older songs not included in “Bad Blood” and some selections from their two mixtapes, and it’s available for $12.99 on iTunes.
Members: Dan Smith, Kyle Simmons, Will Farquarson and Chris Wood
McGinniss is a senior at Red River High School in Grand Forks, N.D. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.