[AN: This article was written in December 2016 but could only be finished up for publishing in February 2017. The passing of time only serves to emphasize my points – just listen to The Currents.]
Most of us probably agree, that in terms of global events and their trajectory, 2016 has been a terrible year. Just this morning I saw videos of people besieged in Aleppo saying their good-byes to the world and then read an article detailing the unsettling stances and policies of Trump’s appointees to the US cabinet. Like a good deal of my peers, I spend a substantial part of my life online and while I am aware and grateful for the rapidly increasing advantages that come with that, I am also distressed by the mass, detail, and immediacy of the information on current injustices and catastrophes it confronts me with. Not seldom I find myself wishing someone would “deafen me with music, till we’re lost in the heat of the moment”, like Bastille demand in the title track of their most recent album Wild World (2016).
I already felt a connection to this album the first time I listened to it. It struck me as unusually powerful in the flood of reflections that it inspired in me. I was at once deafened by and lost in the music but at the same time found my reality and that of my peers at every chorus and quarter note. It picks up current issues and offers commentary on political developments like I’ve hardly seen an entire mainstream album do before. While it might not be explicitly addressed in every song, I can see how they are all shaped by the time and climate we live in. Even musically, the way they incorporate snippets from films and interviews into their songs, reminds me of online meme culture and its glorious spectrum embracing painful truths as well as neo-dada.
While their shows (as we could read in Maria’s review), music videos, and even their hairstyles and logo choice (Δ) seem to be conspicuously committed to a certain aesthetic that we might call – for better or for worse – hipster, their gratuitous use of most every staple of modern pop music and culture strikes me as the opposite of cool aloofness and rather as joyful indulgence and appreciation of what is possible. If it sounds awesome, if it is fun, use it and screw the image! Especially considering the concern and worry that Bastille share with many of their peers, as is evident from their lyrics, this fireworks display of samples, beats, riffs, low and high vocal registers, horns, and the odd auto tune is refreshing, if on occasion overwhelming and slightly disjointed.
In order not to flood you with miles of quotes and commentary, I’ve refrained from adding a list I’ve compiled of the textual evidence of my above claims and instead implore you to consciously listen and maybe share your thoughts with me (for example in the comments), so I can go “!!!!!!”.
Recently, on the occasion of her twentieth birthday and subsequent graduation from teen-age, Lorde reflected on her album Pure Heroine (2013) that it was “[her] way of enshrining our teenage glory, putting it up in lights forever so that part of [her] never dies”. In analogy to that, I feel that Wild World encapsulates the feeling of being a twenty-something in a time of innovation and turbulence, of being never alone and still lonely, having the world at your fingertips but feeling shut out from it all the same.
– written and illustrated by Pat