Review: Bastille – ‘World Gone Mad’

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'World Gone Mad' is one paradoxical song: while it is a pleasure to the ears, it also talks to our social consciousness on a much deeper level: what could we do to improve the state of our world?

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Bastille‘s second album Wild World (our second favourite album of 2016) came out with a bang in September last year, spanning over musical genres to deliver a thoughtful analysis of a world on the brink of destruction. It seemed clear that the British group had strengthened their ground stylistically and lyrically, and after such a strong album you’d probably be right to think they may not have many places left to go…

Until they prove you wrong. Taken from the soundtrack of the upcoming Netflix film Bright starring Will Smith, ‘World Gone Mad’ is, just as the title hints, another musing on the state of our society designed to fit the framework of the film. Interestingly, even after a whole album where they did exactly that, Bastille prove that they can still come up with a fresh take on this matter, and it’s a pretty heartbreaking one this time.

The track starts with a very poignant acoustic guitar that feels like a new direction for the band, whose tracks have always been more piano and synth-based. However, the guitar and Smith’s raw vocals are joined exactly by the Bastille sound we know and love after the first chorus: subtle synths, drums and background violins that harmonise perfectly and emphasise Smith’s vocals and powerful lyrics – which are in fact, the best and worst thing about this song.

While the chorus keeps insisting on a yielding tone (“And it feels like the world’s gone mad/ And there’s nothing you can do about it”), the very straightforward “You don’t wanna fuck with us” sung in a dreamy falsetto reveals a trace of hope: it only feels like there’s nothing you can do about it – but you can. The lyrics also tackle the meaningless speeches we’re surrounded by, the constant hunger for money, and the fundamentally wrong flexibility of news we are constantly exposed to and manipulated by in a media-dominated culture: “So tell me what’s the news/ And what it is you want me to see/ We’re lying to ourselves/ And dancing by the light of the screen”.

‘World Gone Mad’ is a wake-up call delivered by a smooth melody and flawless vocals that showcase Smith’s capacity of singing both falsettos and rich, deep notes. The lyrics leave quite a bitter taste, but the mood combines this taste with the excitement of having just heard another brilliant song from Bastille and the craving to press replay. But do you want to hear those lyrics again? Yes, you do.

‘World Gone Mad’ is out now via Atlantic Records

 

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Features Editor, second year English student and full-time lover of dogs and words (primarily, but could also fangirl about all things entertainment for a fair amount of time).

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