Monday, April 28, 2014

A Closer Look at the Societal Significance of Bastille’s Hit Song “Pompeii”

There’s a catchy hit song on the radio right now called “Pompeii” by some European group named “Bastille.”

Here’s the bridge and chorus:

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

Like I said, it’s a catchy tune. I dare you not to bop in your seat if you hear it on the radio.

But like so many other catchy tunes on the radio, it carries a dangerous message that society is way too drugged-up to pay attention to. Not in the way it should.

The song describes a crumbling city in further distress from physical decay, environmental dangers and probably less tangible onslaughts as well. Yet what does the speaker advise doing?

“Close your eyes.”

“Close your eyes” and pretend that “nothing changed at all.” And while he goes on to question how he can “be an optimist about this?” showing that he’s not completely delusional on the state of his city, he still largely avoids the real question that needs to be asked, which is: How am I going to rectify this? What can I do to right the wrongs and build the walls back up and protect against the coming rain and darkness?

There’s a single moment of clarity in the second half of the song, where the singer asks two questions twice over:

Oh where do we begin?
The rubble of our sins?

Then he’s right back to trying to close his eyes and figure out a way to “be an optimist.”

Here’s a thought that we all need to seriously consider… that maybe there is no way to look at ourselves as a glass half full anymore. Maybe we’re down to two choices instead: Stop pretending that “nothing changed.” Or agree to let our city crumble once and for all. 

No comments:

Post a Comment