SINGLE REVIEW: the rattling new bastille single, "WHAT YOU GONNA DO???" features an unlikely collab
Updated: Jul 31, 2020
"John is on the A train / takin' it the wrong way / shiny on the surface / rotten on the inside," croons Bastille frontman Dan Smith, who, mere months ago, told his fans that Bastille would be taking a break for the remainder of 2020 and that they'd likely be back after the new year, energized and ready to release new music and tour it.
Boy, was he a fucking liar.
Bastille's last full-length, Doom Days, was a concept album which took place at a party held the same night that the world is ending. It was mostly commentary on loneliness and what life looks like now that we're all surgically attached to our phones. One part exasperation mixed with a bit of breathlessness, "WHAT YOU GONNA DO???" is a continuation of that discussion, only not - Doom Days was very much so a pop album, but this newest release is something I don't think anyone even thought they could expect from Bastille. It's borderline punk, if I do say so myself. It's definitely rock, but it's just angry enough to be labelled as the former. I know a lot of people might be ostracized by this change in tone - it's definitely a decision - but ditching your label for something bigger and better and then releasing an enormous criticism of the capitalistic world without whom you couldn't put out music? Love to see it.
And this single isn't only shocking because of its difference in tone to what we're used to from the band - it also happens to feature Graham Coxon, the lead guitarist of British rock band Blur, who popularized (alongside Oasis and a handful of others) the Britpop genre. Bastille are certainly drawing inspiration from Britpop, as, stylistically, "Britpop bands used catchy hooks and lyrics that were relevant to young British people of their own generation." This song is clearly about what Smith is always angry about - the mindnumbing negative presence of cell phones, the Internet, and social media in our everyday lives. I can't even begin to express to you how brilliant it is that Bastille recruited Coxon for this exceptionally fed-up song - the guitars and the subject material make this one very Blur-leaning, and it'll certainly capture the attention of people who hadn't been listening to Bastille before.
In the chorus, Smith sings, "You've got us listening, got us listening / So what you gonna do with it?" He's asking, now that the Internet has us all under its power - how is the Internet going to use that power for good? How can we use social media for good, rather than letting it consume everything we say, do, eat, wear, etc? And seeing the ways that Internet users have used it to share resources over the past few months has given him his answer. You could also argue that he's not concerned with what the users will do with this power at all - no, he'd like to see the multimillionaires who have us all on the hook ("Make me tap and scroll /
You got control, got my attention") do some good with that, too.
If this is what Bastille has in store for us, god, I'll forsake everything they've ever released. If this is what any and all Bastille songs will sound like moving forward, they without a doubt have the power to define an entire generation with their music - and with their politics - much like Oasis and Blur. They're The 1975 for people who actually care about putting their money where their mouth is, and I stand by that statement.
"WHAT YOU GONNA DO???," the newest single from Bastille, is available to stream everywhere you listen to music. You can watch the lyric video below. Be sure to follow the band on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with whatever the fuck else they decide to drop on us in the coming weeks.