Bastille has created their own wild world of influences on their more ambitious and heavy sophomore album, Wild World. Despite a shift, under music that ranges from rock, soul, hip hop, and dance, is still their classic Bastille sound. If you’re not familiar with Bastille’s music (which is unlikely considering their debut Bad Blood was the best selling digital album of 2013, “Pompeii” anyone?) think unshakable hooks, Dan Smith’s uniquely soft yet powerful vocals and, at the core of it, solid songwriting. The main discernible difference from their debut album is the inclusion of guitars which were left completely out of Bad Blood (the band says this was done “mostly by accident”). As always, Dan Smith steers away from autobiographical lyrics and chooses to focus more on stories, such as “Blame,” which is an imagined story about two gangsters having a fight, and “Four Walls,” which was inspired by Truman Capote’s novel In Cold Blood. Overall, the album is loosely based on Bastille’s reaction to the horrible things that go on in the world.
Lead singer Dan Smith’s inner film geek is evident on Wild World. Not only do these tracks contain a cinematic landscape of strings and horns but also a collection of quotes taken from various documentaries and old films. From their lead single “Good Grief” which begins with a clip from classic ‘80s teen movie Weird Science, “Snakes” samples of Freaks and Geeks, and The Currents clips from an American anti communist propaganda video, these film clips are scattered around Wild World and help set the tone of each song, giving the album more depth.
This isn’t the first time Bastille has sampled film, but it is the first time they have done it legally! Technically, Bastille’s very first two albums were more or less “Mix Tapes”: a collection of film quotes mixed in with covers that were made completely illegally. Unavoidably, when Bastille began to gain more popularity this led to loads of copyright lawsuits so they were forced to take the albums down. But as with anything put on the internet you can still find these first two Bastille Mixtapes around! And keep an eye out for more Mixtapes like the “Bastille VS” album released in 2014 (which featured a musical guest on each song) since another one is in the works.
If you want to get the full Bastille Wild World experience it won’t be enough to listen to the standard 14 track version. You’re going to want to listen to the 19 track “Complete Edition” which is what Bastille calls the actual album, while the shorter one is for people who might not care as much about understanding their entire vision for Wild World. With nearly 30 songs recorded for the album it’s not surprising they had a difficult time getting it down to a normal album length.