A thematic journey with room for further exploration
On February 4th, 2022, Bastille released their 4th studio album Give Me The Future, with a deluxe version later released on the 7th. A concept album about virtual reality, Bastille invites us on a journey through an imagined future. The album is 13 tracks long, with the deluxe version including 4 additional tracks.
Given the thematic content of this album, Bastille opts for a more synth-pop sound, which is new for the band. Even on tracks like “Thelma + Louise,” which can be identified instantly as a Bastille song, there is still an underlying futuristic sound in the synth lines. Other tracks such as “Plug In…” commit to the future theme wholeheartedly, distorted robotic-sounding vocals over bouncy synth lines.
The regular version of the album features two interludes, both less than a minute long. The first one, “Brave New World,” is a gentle orchestral piece that feels hopeful. The next interlude, “Total Dissociation,” is the second to last track on the album, with a slightly longer runtime than its predecessor. “Total Dissociation” contains warped vocals over a futuristic beat, but then flows into an orchestral section that sounds reminiscent of the first interlude. However, just as the listener begins to feel comfortable with the soothing orchestral music, it abruptly cuts off, sounding like a tape being stopped. These interludes serve the purpose of carrying the concept throughout the body of work and furthering the story, and they definitely add to the album overall.
While the thematic idea is clear throughout the entire album, the individual tracks are almost interchangeable. They are very similar, to the point where it’s difficult to distinguish between them. Though it’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it shows that the concept remains throughout the project, there is room for more exploration. The dive into the virtual reality/futuristic theme seems a bit shallow throughout, and it could’ve been interesting to see some ideas that haven’t been done before. Concept albums are always interesting, but by shaping an entire project around one (sometimes niche) idea, you run the risk of being repetitive or unoriginal.
This album features two tracks with other artists: “Future Holds” with BIM, and “Promises” with Riz Ahmed. “Promises” is a minute and a half long track containing only a monologue about the future. While it adds to the concept like the interludes, it’s not very interesting to listen to. Additionally, while it’s a cool collaboration, it seems to fall flat. Alternatively, “Future Holds” is one of the best songs on the album. It’s the last track on the regular version of the album and does a great job of wrapping it up. BIM has a beautiful voice, and she soars over Bastille’s steady chorus.
While this album certainly has its high points and low points, kudos to Bastille for taking a risk and getting outside of their musical comfort zone. There is room for improvement, no doubt, but there are certainly some amazing songs on this futuristic concept album.