Bastille (sometimes spelled with a triangle) is an indie rock band, currently consisting of Dan Smith (vocals), Kyle Simmons (keyboard), Will Farquarson (bass), and Chris "Woody" Wood (drums). It was formed by Smith as a solo project in 2010, in London.
Their first album, Bad Blood, was released in 2013, though they had gotten considerable attention before that for their EP Laura Palmer. Both their singles "Pompeii" and "Of the Night" peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart while the former peaked at #5 in America. In 2014, the album was reissued as All This Bad Blood with ten extra tracks.
Their sophomore album, Wild World, was released in 2016, to better reviews than their first album, although singles were slightly less successful. Their third album, Doom Days, was released in 2019, to similarly positive reviews and middling commercial success. In 2022, they released their fourth album, Give Me the Future.
Tropes associated with Bastille include:
- The Alcoholic: The main character of "Icarus" has a drinking problem, with others commenting that "You'll drink yourself to death".
- Alliterative Title: "Good Grief".
- Their first three albums fit this: "Bad Blood", "Wild World", and "Doom Days". Their fourth album, Give Me the Future, eschews this naming convention. Dan has said that this symbolizes the start of a new era for Bastille.
- Ambiguous Syntax: "Doom Days" contains the line:Let's pick the truth that we believe in
Like a bad religion
- This could mean either as if it were a bad religion, or for example a bad religion, so it could be either a metaphor for fake news or a condemnation of a "bad religion".
- And Then John Was a Zombie: The music video for "Pompeii", which ends with the main character becoming one of the zombie-beings he'd spent the whole video fleeing from.
- Animated Music Video: The music video for "Joy" contains strange animation. "Survivin'" also has an animated music video.
- Apocalypse Cult: "Doom Days" references this twice once with "There must be something in the kool-aid", comparing the present situation to Jim Jonestown, and again with "Man, this echo chamber's getting loud".
- Arc Symbol: The contrast between morning and night seems to be one for Doom Days and adjacent songs; "Quarter Past Midnight", "Joy", "Happier", "4 am", and "Doom Days" all are about it or at least reference it.
- Arc Words:
- "Bad decisions/choices" shows up in both "Doom Days" and "Quarter Past Midnight", regarding the singer's partying lifestyle in the midst of the apocalypse.
- "Four walls" shows up in both "Skulls" and "The Ballad of Perry Smith", though it's unclear what this means.
- Bilingual Bonus: The chant of "e-eheu, eheu" in the background of "Pompeii". The Latin "eheu" (pronounced e-hoo or e-hyoo, more or less as it is in the background of the song) translates as "alas" or "oh no", making the chant "oh, oh no, oh no". Fitting for a reference to the fall of Pompeii.
- Black Eyes of Evil: In the music video for "Pompeii", the zombies' eyes are pure black; this is the only thing that distinguishes them from humans.
- Cerebus Syndrome: In Doom Days, the first four tracks are all quite lighthearted, about happy events at a party. However, "Million Pieces" has Lyrical Dissonance and talks about the singer ignoring the world's end. The title track is even darker, almost despairing.
- Concept Album: Doom Days is an "apocalyptic party album".
- Concept Video: "Of the Night"'s video details a homicide detective visiting several bloody crime scenes.
- Cover Version:
- "Of the Night" is a cover mashup, where the band puts Snap!'s "Rhythm is a Dancer" and Corona's "Rhythm of the Night" together into one huge cover song.
- Their version of Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" is a mashup as well, between that song and "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.
- City High's "What Would You Do?"
- Most of the songs in the "Other People's Heartache" mix tapes are covers of other songs, some of them remixed to also feature parts of Bastille's own songs.
- Their 2013 Christmas medley for Live Lounge included classic Christmas songs and "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo."
- The This Got Out of Hand! Edition of "Doom Days" includes a cover of REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling" with orchestral instrumentation.
- Destructive Romance:
- "Get Home".
- "Flaws" discusses how the romance reveals the flaws of both lovers, even the ones they hid before. It's also implied that the relationship is codependent.
- "Happier" is about the singer averting this by ending the relationship once it's ran its course.
- Down the Rabbit Hole: Referenced in "Doom Days" as a metaphor for the singer falling into a partying lifestyle to distract himself from the problems of the world.
- Excited Show Title!: "Send Them Off!"
- False Friend:
And felled in the night
- "Daniel In the Den" involves the singer's betrayal by his friends:
By the ones you think you love
Oh I trusted you
- "The Descent" is sung to one of these:
I looked up to you
I guess that's what you do
- Green-Eyed Monster: "Send Them Off!" parallels jealousy to a demonic possession. According to the band itself, the song could be best described as "Othello meets The Exorcist".
- Grow Old with Me: "Laughter Lines" is about a couple vowing to stay together until they're both old and wrinkled with the titular laughter lines.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Happier", in which the singer declares his intentions to end his toxic relationship so his girlfriend can be happy without him.
- Ironic Name: "Overjoyed", which is about watching a friend struggling with depression and being unable to do anything but try to talk to them.
- Lesser of Two Evils: "Two Evils" is sung by the lesser evil to the greater one, explaining about how his way is better but admitting "We're not not so different, you and I".
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- "Pompeii" is a very upbeat and danceable song with punchy drums and a catchy synth-line ... that also happens to be about two charred corpses having a conversation and reflecting about the destruction of the city.
- "Good Grief", which is an upbeat song about a guy mourning a loved one's death.
- "Million Pieces" is also upbeat but discusses many political problems that the singer just wants to forget about. This is probably to enforce the subject of the song, being an unwanted political discussion in the middle of a party.
- Meet the New Boss/Full-Circle Revolution: In "Daniel In the Den", the death of the king and the crowning of a new one is viewed as a continuation of what came before with no real change.
- Motor Mouth: The verses of "Happier", the bridge of "Notcurnal Creatures", and the chorus of "Another Place" are extremely fast. "Doom Days" starts slow, but eventually becomes extremely fast.
- Multi-Part Episode: Well, multi-part song: "The Weight Of Living", Parts 1 and 2.
- No Sympathy for Grudgeholders: In "Bad Blood", the singer urges a grudgeholder to let their grudge go:All this bad blood here
Won't you let it dry?
It's been cold for years
Won't you let it lie?
- Non-Appearing Title: "Pompeii", "Laura Palmer", "Poet", "Sleepsong", and "Good Grief" have titles that never appear in the songs themselves.
- "Not So Different" Remark: Referenced by name in "Two Evils", in which the singer maintains he is the lesser of two evils but acknowledges he is not very different from the greater one.
- Obsession Song: "Poet" is a downplayed one; while it mentions that obsession "eats me whole", the singer is content to merely write about their love and devotion rather than act on their feelings or try to force the subject to requite them.
- Protest Song: "Doom Days" protests fake news, climate change deniers, and Brexit supporters.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: "Pompeii" is about the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, with the narrator trying to find cover from the impending disaster.
- The Sacred Darkness: "Tuning Out...", which is about the night of Jesus' birth.
- Sampling: "Good Grief" contains snippets of dialogue from the film Weird Science.
- Significant Haircut: Dan Smith cuts his hair at the beginning of the video for "Quarter Past Midnight", and kept it that way for over a year afterward. It appears to symbolize the stylistic change between Wild World and Doom Days.
- Surreal Music Video:
- "Pompeii" features Dan running from black-eyed zombies before he is infected himself.
- "Torn Apart" features intercuts interviews on the nature of love with a shapeshifting couple having sex. This culminates in strange aliens.
- "Of the Night" features a detective investigating several bloody corpses that lipsync with the song, before killing himself.
- "Good Grief" features, among other things, a woman winning the lottery and shooting people randomly, angry roller skate girls, a giant teddy bear, and graphic nudity.
- "Blame" features a cult kissing a disembodied mouth in a black bowl of water.
- "Flaws": Dan wakes up after apparently having died, and goes to an amusement park with several girls with skull makeup on, before falling down again.
- "Joy" is filled with strange, vaguely political animation, intercut with a woman oddly happy about her car breaking down.
- Almost every video is one of these, to the point where the straightforwardly heartwarming "Glory" video was seen as kind of strange. Many comments expressed surprise that Bastille had made a music video that made sense.
- Take That!: In the video for "Bad Decisions", Dan dresses British prime minister Boris Johnson and gets shot in the head.
- Together in Death: "Skulls" is about the singer wanting to be buried with the person he's in love with, saying that they'll go to the afterlife together.
- While Rome Burns:
- "Doom Days" is about people partying while horrible things go on the world.
- "Bad Decisions" features an even more blatant example:
If the world is ending
Let's stay up all night!