With our top ten Bastille songs we are looking at one of the biggest indie pop bands to come out of Britain over the last ten years. They were formed in 2010 and signed to Virgin Records after releasing their self-titled ep. In 2013 they released their debut album Bad Blood which instantly got to number one in the UK and included the single “Pompeii” which got to number two on the UK singles chart. They have gone on to record two more albums and are one of the best selling British artists of the 2010’s.
Although Bastille are very much a commercial and accessible pop rock act, their music is definitely unique and they have carved their own identity as a band. So here at Classic Rock we are taking a look at what their ten best songs are.
# 10 – The Currents
Kicking off our Bastille songs list is a track taken from their second album Wild World released in 2016. The album was quite political and was particularly lyrically inspired by the events that happened that year, namely the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in Britain to leave the European Union.
# 9 – Send Them Off
This song was released as the second single from Wild World. Frontman Dan Smith wrote the song along with producer Mark Crew. It was featured on the soundtrack to video game “FIFA 2017.” The song is about jealousy and the promo video for it featured references to films such as “The Exorcist” and Shakespeare’s “Othello.”
# 8 – Durban Skies
Next we have a song from the reissue Bastille’s debut All This Bad Blood released in 2013. It is a slow song that has a dark feel to it. The song could very much be described as one of the band’s “deep cuts” in the sense that it was not included on the actual debut album but definitely would have been worthy of being.
# 7 – These Streets
This is another track taken from All This Bad Blood that really shows Dan Smith’s talent as a lyrics writer. Bastille are a band who are influenced a lot by cinema, and with this track he brilliantly writes in a way that the listener can just picture what is going on in their head. In this sense, the listener can also find the song very relatable.
# 6 – The Driver
This track is taken from the 2014 mixtape collection Other People’s Heartache and was written as part of the BBC’s re-scored of the film Drive which radio DJ Zane Lowe oversaw in an attempt for the radio station to promote itself by showcasing a number of up and coming artists. The title of this song refers to the film’s main character played by Ryan Gosling.
# 5 – Oblivion
This song is a single from Bad Blood. It was the eighth single to be released from the album and is very haunting and melancholy. When the song builds up it becomes particularly good when the soulful backing vocals come in and provide a beautiful accompaniment to Dan Smith’s very powerful performance.
# 4 – Icarus
As well as cinema, one of Bastille’s main musical inspirations is that of ancient history and mythology, which this song is one of the finest examples of. This is about the Greek legend of Icarus and while Bastille are not the first band to write a song about the particular subject matter (See Iron Maiden’s “Flight of the Icarus”), the song really showcases Dan Smith’s very intelligent lyricism, which definitely makes Bastille stand out among their contemporaries.
# 3 – Of the Night
At number three is a single that was taken from All That Bad Blood. It was another extremely successful single for Bastille, reaching number in the UK and charting high across several other countries. The song is not an original number written by Bastille but is actually a mashup of two nineties Euro Pop songs namely “The Rhythm Of The Night” by Italian group Corona( where it takes it title from) and “Rhythm Is A Dancer” by German group Snap!. The nucleus of the track is that Bastille where basically experimenting whilst they were trying keep the creativity going and thus this track was born.
The track was highly acclaimed by critics for its clever and unique way of mashing the two songs together that made for a coherent track that flows well. This success was also replicated commercially, with it being yet another number two UK hit for the band. A very high quality music video was also produced which starred Hollywood actor James Russo who is known for his roles in movies such as Once Upon A Time in America and Django Unchained.
# 2 – Happier (with Marshmallow)
Just off the top spot is this song that was a collaborative effort with producer Marshmallow that was released as a single in 2018. Marshmallow wrote and produced it while Dan Smith and producer Steve Mac wrote the lyrics. It got to number two in both the UK and the US, making it the highest charting single for both artists. It holds several records and has received many accolades. Smith had originally written it for pop sensation Justin Bieber to sing but ultimately liked it so much that he decided to keep for Bastille.
# 1- Pompeii
At the top spot is what has become Bastille’s signature song. It was the fourth single to be released from Bad Blood. It is another historically-influenced song being named after the town in ancient Rome. It was Bastille’s breakthrough hit , getting to number two in the UK and until 2014 was the most streamed song in Britain. It was also successful around the world, charting in a total of fifteen countries including getting to number five on the US Billboard. Until the release of “Happier” in 2014 it was the band’s most successful song. It was nominated for best British single at the 2014 Brit Awards where they performed a mashup of it with Rudimental and Ella Eyre where it was mixed with their song “Up All Night.”
Bastille Songs Ranked article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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