Album Review

Bastille Tells a Roller Coaster Midnight Story in “Doom Days”

I have to admit that I got defensive toward Bastille’s new album, Doom Days before I even heard the whole album. I remember telling Elsa that, “I don’t think, Bastille’s new album will charm me this time.” Boy, how judgmental I was back then. Just because I got vigilant over one of the Joy’s lyric,

“You’re a sweet relief, you saved me from my brain
From my brain, from my brain, from my brain”

and couldn’t immediately relate with Those Days MVC, I get snob and hasty declaring my feeling toward unborn a piece of art at that moment.

 

Alright, brace yourself, this is going to be a rather long album review, my dear.

 

Doom Days Track List

Elsa once told me that she read somewhere, an album has a critical moment during the first 3 till 5 songs—if I’m not mistaken remembering . If you like the first 3 or 5, you will be likely will listen to the whole album. Bastille’s new album, Doom Day, proves the theory. It change my mind. It hooked me, actually, from the first song and latching on till the last song.

So, before we begin to talk about all the songs in this album, I strongly suggest you to listen to the whole album because like Dan Smith says, this album is a concept record. You might only like one song, but I think to love it, you got to listen to the whole album. This is a story.

They begin the story just 15 minutes after midnight, through Quarter Past Midnight. Since then, you’ll have an emotional ride till dawn. The song was released earlier on May last year, 2018. So you probably already familiar with this question,

“Why are we always chasing after something

Like we’re trying to throw our lives away?”

They continue the story with you having difficulty to unstuck the “Good times, bad decisions” phrase out of your mind. As if to tie the event from the Quarter Past Midnight, the second song talking about bad decisions—a mistake that you keep making again and again, in Bad Decisions.

“You always let me down so tenderly

So live fast and die young and stay forever numb”

Well, by now, even though we are just start talking the second song, I have to warn you that, punches are everywhere. Dan Smith has a talent in making a sentence’s weight is heavier than a giant river rock. And it sink to the deep of your mind or, worse, heart.

Though quite depressing, Bastille deliver the message in an upbeat tunes that, slightly, give you power to brush and dance away all the flicker wounds. And I think, it’s okay, it’s okay to feel not okay sometime. Remember, the men who sell 9 million records worldwide is also the one who write this:

“I’m here feeling lower than the sterling

How’d you look so good?”

 

So, right, insecure is a normal thing. You are not alone.

 

Anxiety also normal thing to be feel, you know. As the album brings you deep into a midnight, The Waves paint an impression when everything around you begin to blur away.

“The air hit me on the way out

Did it make me more sober or make me more drunk?

I couldn’t quite remember the vision of you and of me”

Damn, Smith’s story telling talent. I could almost feel the night air chill me to the bone when he continue building the blue-moody emotions when he sings the first line of Divide.

“In these darker days, I push the limit to the love you offer

There’s a riot in my head, demanding we do this forever”

Divide shows how human could be so fragile and vulnerable. How human is a social creature through and through since we, no matter how introvert or how we enjoy solitude, inevitably need other human being in our lives. Human connection is still the essential, the valuable, the irreplaceable one. You’ll beg to get one if you have to.

What happens when you couldn’t get one, what happens if you still end up facing the rest of the night alone with your thought with no one to share it? A Million Pieces happens.

“It breaks my heart

Breaks my heart into

A million pieces, oh

It breaks my heart into

A million pieces

If it’s gonna break me

Won’t you let me go?

Leave it till the morning

I don’t wanna know

Breaks my heart

Breaks my heart into

A million pieces”

You probably familiar with the lyrics since A Million Pieces departing from The Descent from the OPH Part 4.

 

I love how Bastille wrap this heartbreak songs, again, in an upbeat tunes. As if, we’re done begging, now please let us have some dignities to deal or dance away the hurtful result.

 

After A Million Pieces I think you’ll found out that Bastille knows no boundaries in exploring their music. There’s a pop, ballad, electro, some are heavy on piano tunes, some with a mixtape, 90’s beat, dj vibes. There’s no box to put them into, to stake a claim of specific genre to their music is equal to belittle their talent, I think.

Back to the midnight story. When the night get into its horror peak, how you will talk about that, especially when you aren’t fortunate enough to be accompany by your love one? Bastille brings the urgency of everything that is wrong today—phone addiction, porn addiction, politics, fake news—in Doom Days by fast pacing the melodies while singing the verse. The idea of talking about what is wrong with your surroundings to the person beside you, be it friends or lover, slightly remind me of Pompeii.

“When I watch the world burn

All I think about is you

You

All I think about is you

So I put my phone down

Fall into the night with you

Suppose you manage to escape the dreadful day. Relief probably wash over your body. Then giddy comes, encourage you to shout and challenge things that nearly drown you. I think that’s why Bastille create and put anthem song, Nocturnal Creatures right after Doom Days.

“This time with you elastic

We stretch these hours as far as we can make them go”

I like how no matter loud the instrument, Bastille always manage to make a string of a stood one melody—like the bass and guitar strum at the chorus of Nocturnal Creatures.

It gives a touch of melancholy in a chorus part, though the lyrics insist on being an anthem. What a heavy irony to be chewed that turned to slowly choking your throat when you continue listen to the sad melody in 4AM.

“Here, here, my family

You are my familiar, you are my familiar

Here, here, my friends and me

You are my familiar”

I adore the way Dan Smith delivering the lyrics. In this album, he doesn’t lose the sincerity, the rawness of the emotion in every song, especially in 4AM. He sings it like a sleepy man—defeated by long night, wanting to hit pillow immediately but still has something to say before it so he struggle to keep awake—but that’s where the charm is, the sincerity is.

“Oh, there is nowhere I would rather be

Never felt more comfortable, could never want for more when I’m here

No, there is nowhere I would rather be, oh-oh

Never felt more comfortable, could never want for more when you’re near”

 

God, again, how judgmental I was. By the time I finish this review, probably, I’ll have a black and blue forehead as a result for banging it every time I remember how judgmental I am. Ha.

 

Up until 4AM, the story line is still makes sense to me. But Another Place happen. Well, not that I dislike this song, but it doesn’t feel quite fit the situation. Why you ask? Dan Smith tells Billboard about this song,

“Another Place” is one of the last tracks I wrote for the album. I wanted to write a positive song about a hookup that both parties are happy to engage in just once, knowing that they’ll probably never see each other again. There’s a lot of songs about the kind of darker side of hedonism and of mindless late night encounters with people, and I wanted to write something that felt as warm and positive as it can and hopefully should be. I just really like the sentiment of it and wanted something that gave the album a bit of a lift and a softer, lighter moment. I pushed myself to write in a slightly different way, with a big chorus, almost half-spoken tumble of words and I think it’s quite nice to do a song that’s probably a bit more honest and interpersonal.”

That’s the problem. The one night stand event happen nearly dawn—not that I could say that people couldn’t do ONS in nearly dawn, people do what people want to do anytime they want to, I know—but to listen about this story after you just let yourself being drown into the last bit of the night. Some people even already passed out in 4AM. This song feels like being thrust and force to fit with the whole event just so a hookup theme could have a representative in this album.

Also the tunes, the big chorus, my tiny tiny brain refuse to accept that after fighting to stay awake in 4AM, you could suddenly being so pump up. No. Not gonna buy that. But then, if you think so, who am I to judge then, hm?

But still, I rather jump into Those Night to continue the story. Defeated by the long, exhausted night, my tiny mind and heart could relate with this song, especially the chorus part.

“Those nights when your friends are gone

When you’re holding on for someone to leave with

Those nights when you crave someone

To be there at dawn, to wake with, ’cause aren’t we all just

Looking for a little bit of hope these days?

Looking for somebody you can wake up with?

Looking for a little bit of hope these days?

We are, we are”

Okay Daniel, stop reading my mind. No, stop reading everyone’s mind and shove their fear to their very face. That’s kind a rude and I almost glad to hear that you wake up in a kitchen floor in Joy for what you did a couple minutes before. Well, that makes me sound petty. I take that back.

Actually, because loneliness is dreadful, I also feel glad, more relief maybe, knowing that someone has another someone to save them from their thoughts, like what Bastille portray in Joy.

“Oh joy, when you call me

I was giving up, oh, I was giving in

Joy, set my mind free

I was giving up, oh, I was giving in

How’d you always know when I’m down?

How’d you always know when I’m down?”

Joy as the last song from this album gives an optimism for the listener that, no matter awful a day a night could be, you still have hope. You still can turn to your family, lover, friends, even stranger—just please try to pick the nice one—to seek comfort or release the overwhelming emotion.

And if you happen to have no one, no other human being to turn to, you can listen to this album. You’re not alone.

Alright, if this review hasn’t be able to convince you, kindly please press the button and stream the album here:

Meanwhile, I will probably talk (and promote) about this album to e v e r y o n e around me whether they want to hear it or not. Oh no, let this fan-obsession begin, shall we?

Have a lovely weekend, dear folks!

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