Posts Tagged ‘Bastille’

Wild World by Bastille

This UK electronic/rock/pop band first graced us with their presence on 2013’s Bad Blood. A solid debut album showcasing their versatility both musically and lyrically.Lead singer Dan Smith has this innate ability to choose words so carefully and precisely, the listener can’t help but see all his emotions; he paints such a vivid picture. Wild World only continues to showcase their incredible talent, and his voice is as infectious as ever.

Wild World highlights their capacity to depict all life’s situations honestly, using several instruments, exploring all sorts of genres, and uncovering different sounds. “Two Evils” and “An Act of Kindness,” are dark and haunting; “Fake It” and “The Anchor” lean towards pop music, “Way Beyond” echoes much more electronic stylings. They use their music to reach out and connect with an audience, and it’s impossible to turn a deaf ear after hearing what they have to say.

Wild World shows how much Bastille has grown over the last 3 years; how much more they can give, and how far they can go. They’ve managed to stay true to their unique sound, without boring their listeners – a feat only few bands can accomplish.

22, A Million by Bon Iver

Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) is already a legend in my books. He is one of those artists that can’t be stopped. He writes, produces, sings, does it all – and does it all so well. 22, A Million is set to be released on September 30th of this year, but I managed to get a copy in my hands and I just can’t shut it off.

This album is an experience. A subtle sensory overload, causing mass confusion of the senses, as they’re all ignited at the same time, pulling you in every direction. Your skin tingles, your ears perk up, your eyes want to close so you can fully absorb it all, and your mouth waters because you can taste it. It’s all over your body, then somehow sneaks its way into the pit of your stomach, leaving it both in knots and relieved at the same time.

Vernon’s voice is as ethereal as it gets, even angelic. At first the music just sounds like noise, but when you pay a little closer attention, it hits you – something pretty magical is going on, which just speaks to his ability as a producer (services he has lent to the likings of Kanye West.) His lyrics are esoteric, often revealing layers and layers of meaning and complexity with each listen. Each track has so many elements, so many components, that it takes listen after listen after listen, to truly understand what’s going on, and even then you’re unsure.

22, A Million is one of the (ie my) most anticipated albums this year, and thank goodness Bon Iver is still in the game, creating works of art – we really need it.

Back in November 2015, I began a blog series entitled “Classic Albums,” which took a look at albums you can’t listen to just once, no matter how hard you try. This time, it’s Bastille‘s turn with their 2013 debut album, Bad Blood.

This album was released only 3 years ago, so it may be presumptuous to already call it a classic, but there really is no other word for it. At first glance, it’s a bunch of songs about love, life, loss, relationships – the usual themes throughout most albums.

What makes it stand out though, is lead singer Dan Smith’s ability to put his internal thoughts and feelings into words. It’s like he’s sorting out his life through his music, and we get to jump in during his train of thought. He creates all kinds of images with his words, that when listening, you can’t help but caught up in it all.

Angry rock lyrics are surrounded by light-hearted pop sounds. Break-up tracks are more empowering than depressing. Love tracks are filled with such an eagerness and genuineness, that you often find yourself turning to mush. His perspective on relationships seems to come from a mature and hopeful place; a place where no matter what happens, life will go on.

The album comes off as a coming-of-age story; the ups and downs, the highs and lows and everything in between, which is why it’s such a successful album: it’s about life. He portrays these common emotions so accurately and perfectly that listeners completely understand, because they’ve been through the same experiences too.

Musically, it’s a mix of rock, indie and electronic. It’s common for different genres to blend into one another, and Bastille does a great job of balancing them all. The sounds are full of expression, emotion and imagination. Couple that with Smith’s incredibly distinctive voice, and you get some beautiful music.

 

I’ll admit I have a bit of a soft spot for this album: it was a true companion/muse while I wrote my first novel, Stan’s Jams. It was so inspiring and enabled me to make sense of my thoughts, and translate them onto paper/computer. It helped me find my way.

Once you throw on this album, you won’t be able to turn it off. It’s addictive, and colourful and captivating; you just won’t ever want that tingling feeling all over to go away.

 

I started this blog nearly 5 years ago, with the intention of educating people on new music,and exposing them to sounds they may never have heard otherwise. The idea was to diversify, explore, get to know other perspectives; expand our minds so our thoughts don’t get stunted. I jumped into this full force, afraid that too many people were settling for only what was put in front of them. I wanted to show that it’s okay to be critical about music, and to demand better quality.

Music isn’t as polarizing as it used to be, and now more than ever, it has found a way to come together. Rap mixes with rock; hip-hop with country. It’s all over the place, and just goes to show that music really is just one sound interpreted in different ways, different styles. Musicians are more open, more accepting, more willing to experiment. They understand that working together is more effective than apart. I, too, have learned the same thing. As much as I have criticized a lot of music out there, I’ve realized there’s a time and place for everything. Moreover, music is incredibly subjective – there is no wrong answer (unless you’re a Chris Brown fan.)

One of the benefits of writing this blog, is not only myself learning about new music, but also figuring out how to explain it to people. Why I like/dislike a certain track/artist. Why one sound resonates with me more than another. It helps me organize my thoughts, form opinions not solely based on subjectivity, but also backed by facts. It’s a way for me to express myself, and it gives me a voice. Now I write this blog as much for myself as I do for others.

I’ve always been a music fans for all kinds of reasons, and writing about it is something I can’t stop doing. It’s become this obsessive passion, that I need to fuel whenever I can. That intense need, or desire, to put my trains of thought on paper, eventually led me to put together and publish my first book: Stan’s Jams. It revolves around music and how it plays a role in anyone’s life. It draws on the universality of music, and was inspired by how I feel about music.

Scan Jan 2, 2015, 11_05 PM

The response to this project has been overwhelming. Never would I have imagined that so much positivity and enthusiasm could have come from this; people I barely know, excited to read what I wrote. People paying money to read what I wrote. People enjoying what I wrote.

When you create something out of love and passion, it shows. People can feel that beautiful energy and respond to it; I have to admit, it’s quite humbling. I didn’t write this book for fame and fortune; I did it for me, for music, and for anyone else who understands its importance. For those who have encouraged, supported and helped, I thank you a million times over.

What’s next? My goal is continue to write this blog, regardless of how many people actually read it. I want to continue to write about what interests you, so I’m always open to suggestions, comments, etc. I also plan to start a series called “My Date With” in which I deeply examine a past musician’s work and share my thoughts on it. Someone who I never really got around to listening to when they were big, and so will play catch up by immersing myself in their music. Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime: