The lyrics to the hit song, “Pompeii,” by British band Bastille, are memorable and meaningful. The song tells the story of the people of Pompeii as they experienced the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It has been a success for Bastille, reaching number two in the UK singles chart and going platinum in the UK, Australia and Canada.
Bastille’s lead singer Dan Smith wrote the song after visiting the ruins of Pompeii. He was inspired by the story of how a natural disaster took the lives of thousands in an instant, and how the ruins of their lives were preserved for centuries. As he later noted, “Seeing this empty, desolate city that was frozen in time inspired the song – it made me think of all the different ways disaster can hit, whether it’s completely out of the blue or something that’s been building up for a long time.”
The lyrics portray a vivid and somber image of what might have happened in Pompeii. It starts off with a slow, quiet piano: “I was left to my own devices / Many days fell away with nothing to show.” This emphasizes the peaceful life the people of Pompeii had prior to the disaster. It then picks up with the lyric, “And the walls kept tumbling down / In the city that we love.” This lyric serves as a reminder of the destruction that befell the city and its inhabitants.
The second verse dives deeper into the emotions experienced by the citizens of Pompeii as they realize what is happening to them. The lyrics “And if you close your eyes / Does it almost feel like / Nothing changed at all?” reflect the shock and disbelief people may have had as they witnessed the destruction of their city.
The chorus brings the lyrics to life. It talks of the feelings of hope and desperation that the people would have felt as they realized there was no escape. “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?” The phrase “How am I gonna be an optimist about this?” expresses the despair that the people of Pompeii must have felt as they realized their time was running out.
Finally, the bridge of the song talks about what it was like for the people of Pompeii in their last moments: “And the walls kept tumbling down / In the city that we love / Grey clouds roll over the hills / Bringing darkness from above.” This paints a vivid image of the chaos and destruction that engulfed Pompeii in its final hours. It also serves as a wake-up call to the listener, warning us to always be prepared for the unexpected.
Bastille does a phenomenal job of using storytelling devices to draw the listener in and make them feel as if they are experiencing the disaster. One of the most powerful storytelling devices used was the use of imagery. The lyrics create an evocative image of what might have happened in Pompeii; “Grey clouds roll over the hills / Bringing darkness from above.” This image is particularly effective as it conveys the ominous feeling associated with the disaster.
Another powerful storytelling device used was the use of repetition, which is used throughout the song to emphasize the desperate situation of the people of Pompeii. The chorus, “How am I gonna be an optimist about this? / How am I gonna be an optimist about this?,” is repeated multiple times throughout the song as a way to illustrate the hopelessness and panic people would have felt in their final moments.
Finally, the song uses the popular device of personification: “And if you close your eyes / Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?” This line brings the listener into the disaster, allowing them to empathize with the people of Pompeii, who in their last moments, may have felt as if they had experienced something like this before.
Lyrics and Meaning
The lyrics to “Pompeii” are meaningful not only on a literal level, but on a deeper level as well. On a deeper level, the song is a reminder of the fragility and uncertainty of life, as well as the importance of making the most of the time that we have. It is a reminder that we should appreciate the good moments in life and savor them, as we never know when disaster may strike.
It also conveys a message of resilience. Despite a seemingly hopeless situation, the people of Pompeii managed to survive. This serves as a reminder that even when things look bleak, and it seems like the odds are against us, with hard work and determination, we can survive and even thrive. This message is especially relevant in today’s difficult times.
The musicality of “Pompeii” is a key aspect of the song’s success. It begins with a slow, quiet piano, which symbolizes the peaceful life the people of Pompeii had in the beginning. As the song progresses, the music picks up in intensity and volume, symbolizing the chaos and destruction that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius brought. This crescendo culminates in the chorus, which is the loudest, most intense part of the song, which symbolizes the desperation of the people of Pompeii.
The entire song is underscored by a powerful, driving beat that symbolizes the unstoppable force of nature that destroyed the city. This beat not only emphasizes the intensity of the disaster, but also serves as a reminder that nature is always in control and we must respect it.
Impact on Pop Culture
Since its release in 2013, “Pompeii” has been an instant hit, and its impact on the pop culture landscape is undeniable. It has been featured in many movies, TV shows, and commercials, and has been covered by many other artists. It has also been used as the soundtrack for multiple documentaries, including an upcoming National Geographic special on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Furthermore, the song has inspired other works, such as the novel “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau, which is about a city under the threat of an impending disaster. In addition, the song has been used in classrooms to teach about the importance of learning from history, as well as to discuss natural disasters and the effects they can have on society.
The lyrics to “Pompeii” are powerful and meaningful. They tell the story of the people of Pompeii as they experience the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD in vivid detail. Furthermore, the song is a reminder of the fragility and uncertainty of life, as well as the importance of making the most of the time that we have. It has been a huge hit and its impact on pop culture is undeniable. From movies, TV shows and documentaries, to novels and school curricula, “Pompeii” has become an integral part of our culture.