Bastille - “Give Me The Future” Album Review
Bastille has spent the last decade exploring increasingly experimental sounds of music since their hit album “Bad Blood.” “Give Me The Future” continues this trend as an electro-pop concept album based upon the group’s apparent fears about life in the future.
The album tells a cunning narrative in which these songs are best experienced together, rather than any one individually.
The cover features a laser tunnel leading to a bright end, which is a metaphor for the music to come. The track list shows titles up-keeping with the subject matter, featuring such names as “Distorted Light Beam” and “Plug in…” Lastly with the theming, the album features two interludes that are made from electronic synth sounds.
Dan Smith sings a continuous story. This begins with the synthetic-pop song “Distorted Light Beam” where he tells his thoughts on being unhappy with himself in the real world.
He then switches to the hope he feels while dreaming and how modern technology such as virtual reality allows him to step into a better world. “Thelma + Louise” follows as a pop-punk inspired clapping and guitar song about escaping the bad days. However, the lyrics reference “pretend we’re miles away,” sounding like another reference back to the virtual escapes of the lead song.
“No Bad Days” is a bitter, psychedelic ballad written by Smith following the passing of his aunt in 2019. It delivers a message of death as an escape in a tragic manner.
Following the interlude is the funky “Back To The Future.” It features references to book and film portrayals of the future by authors such as George Orwell over an instrumental reminiscent of songs such as “Uptown Funk.” The song has an infectious bridge as Smith repeats “take me back to the future,” leading to a final chorus that will leave listeners dancing.
The story has been built by this point, with the following tracks simply following the concept of the future that Bastille has painted to this point. “Plug In…” goes on a fast-paced rant about the problems in this future, followed by a chorus asking for hope. “Promises” is a spoken word poem by Riz Ahmed painting a love picture in a beautiful future.
“Shut Off The Lights” provides a twist in the narrative as the lead character is pulled back into modern times by the love of his life. This hypothetical character tells Smith that he needs “No talk of the future now,” as they dance in the darkness and enjoy the happy moments in the real world.
“Stay Awake?” pulls listeners back into the future where the problems of modern times have snuck in. The title track follows, continuing the talk about dreaming of the future.
“Club 57” is a song about two people meeting in the club, not knowing whether they seek real love, or just want to pretend they have it for a night. The album closes with “Future Holds,” where Smith sings about how he truly doesn’t know what will happen in the future. As long as he has his love, whatever the future around him is will not be an issue.
The album holds a compelling, consistent narrative; however, the music featured does not hold much individual replay value.
Smith’s voice clashes with the synth backdrops creating an incoherent combination. The two interludes also cause a distraction from the narrative. While they fit the intended sound, they seemingly hold no real purpose.
The album truly shines on tracks like “Back To The Future” where it pulls away from the futuristic sound. While this clash holds the album back from being great, it does not mean this is a bad album. There are no outright bad tracks on “Give Me The Future,” but they're also no true standout songs.
The story woven through the album along with the songwriting skill of the band lifts this to be an above average album that likely won’t have singles playing alone on repeat.
“Give Me The Future” is a concept album telling an incredible narrative through a series of standard songs.
Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Back To The Future,” “Thelma + Louise,” “No Bad Days”
Reviewers Least Favorite Songs: “Plug In…,” “Club 57,” “Brave New World (Interlude),” “Total Dissociation (Interlude)”
Evan Smith is a first-year majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
First-Year / Broadcast Journalism