Bastille’s Bad Blood was named one of 2013’s best albums by more than one Muruch writer last year, long before the single “Pompeii” began ruling the radio. On the heels of the song’s success, Bastille released an expanded, two-disc version of their hit album called All This Bad Blood. I’m not usually a fan of such “deluxe” editions, but this is an exception. I can’t get enough Bastille.
If you’ve heard any of the songs from the original Bad Blood album, you already know Bastille’s music is a refreshing and rare blend of catchy pop melodies, rock instrumentation and intelligently poetic lyrics.
“Pompeii” is the prime example of Bastille’s talent for masking exquisite lyrical depth with an irresistable pop hook and, in this case, a chanting backing male choir. Even after what must have been a thousand listens, I’m still enchanted and enraptured by the song to the point of obsession. I mean, come on, a pop song about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius? What’s not to love about that?!
Beyond their accessible and incredibly infectious arrangements, songs like “Pompeii” and the equally haunting “Things We Lost in the Fire” cleverly use material losses as a lyrical metaphor for emotional damage.
Other standout tracks are the mythical, theatrical ode to self-destruction “Icarus,” the wistful ballad “Oblivion,” the rolling, rollicking, Biblical piano anthem “Daniel in the Den” and the dark, pulsing, Lynchian rock tribute “Laura Palmer.”
The new songs, b-sides and demos included on the second disc of the reissue don’t deviate from the sound established on the original album, though it’s easy to understand why the band chose to release these somewhat lesser songs as bonus tracks instead of as a separate album.
The exception that makes All This Bad Blood worth purchasing is the mesmeric incorporation of “Oh Holy Night” into “Tuning Out.”
Other highlights include “Sleepsong,” “Durban Skies, “The Draw”” and “Of the Night,” which is an unexpected electro-rock mashup cover of “Rhythm is a Dancer” by Snap! and Corona’s “Rhythm of the Night.”
Guest Post By: Jen “Coble” Hopper
Coble’s Top Albums of 2013:
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience part 1
In all seriousness, Justin Timberlake wins 2013. When this album first came out, it took a couple of listens before it sunk in. Life was empty without a song about courting in space (only he could make a song about that sexy) but now I can’t go back– no I won’t go back to a world without it. Everyone in our house loves it and it is the go-to music when we don’t know what to listen to. Whether it’s my speakers, SNL, Jimmy Fallon, my heart etc; I bow in front of the king, JT.
Of Monsters and Men – My Head is An Animal
This album is so rich and fulfilling. I discovered it in the spring and truly haven’t been able to wear it out. Harmonies are my weakness and so is catchy folk music, apparently. It’s been a theme this year for me.
Again with the catchy folk music. Jeremiah Fraites voice is young and vulnerable and perfect for this Americana sound. “Ho Hey” sucked me in and I haven’t left. It’s reminiscent of Cold War Kids in all the best ways.
Bastille – Bad Blood
Everything is Bastille and nothing hurts.
Fall Out Boy – Save Rock n’ Roll
This is the best
comeback album of the decade so far, I will fight anyone who argues (with this album as a soundtrack, and I will win). Perhaps my opinions are blurred by nearly ten years of strong appreciation for this band, but I have no apologies for it.
Note: Arcade Fire has a special place in my heart but I regret that this year’s album has not yet spoken to me.
Guest Post By: Chelle
Things I was spinning nonstop this year:
8. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock n’ Roll
7. Bastille – Bad Blood
6. HAIM – Days Are Gone
5. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience part 1
4. Jay-Z – Magda Carta Holy Grail
3. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
2. Disclosure – Settle
1. Everything Everything – Arc
and like eleventy billion plays of all One Direction albums but I know you don’t wanna talk about that. 🙂
my top track of the year is Chris Malinchak, “So Good to Me.”
*all mp3s, streams & videos uploaded by & posted w/ permission of artists, labels and/or their PR reps