Look who’s back

Hello and welcome back.

Imagine that’s what my blog said to me as I typed this up.

I’ve had this idea for a while, about Bastille’s song “Pompeii.” I wrestled with the idea of writing about it, as I often do with anything (which is something everyone oughta just get over). I could go on about the excess of keyboards or, as I’ve referred to them in consternation through various conversations, assortment of noises. I could talk about the lack of guitar and how the song, in a lot of senses, is simply a microcosm of what’s popular right now. But the guitar will never be dead, and the keyboard stuff won’t hang around forever, so I’d like to talk about something that will: the sentiment in the lyrics.

The lyrics make me keep the song on when it plays over the radio in the car. In particular, it’s the chorus:

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

It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? Something goes wrong, something out of our control, or something we’ve fucked up; something. Where do we begin when trying to fix it – at the metaphorical pile of broken Whatever, or with ourselves and the fact that we screwed up and it counts? I don’t know.

 Let’s look at some more lyrics, because the singer isn’t being rhetorical before offering some magnificent solution:

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?

Whether you’re in a crowd or not, you find a quiet place and can’t help but reflect on the Whatever that’s gone wrong and your role in it. You close your eyes; you think of the places you’ve been before, the lines you’ve crossed or dominoes you’ve set in motion with prior transgressions. You think of how you wake up every day and try to be better, try to be your best self. You think how you’ve tried in earnest to do it, how you’ve taken new looks at and approaches to the issues life bestows. You suddenly feel where two walls meet and almost sigh. Your actions have inconveniently painted you into a corner. Your previous approaches are no good this time around. How are you positive about efforts that don’t allow repetition?

 That question is what I like most about the song. I think it’s dead serious. I think the singer has no idea. I think not offering some magical solution or silly, static bullshit like “Try your best and be okay with it, you know, that’s life.” I’m not sure that statement conveys the poorly gilded but well kept sentiment I want it to, but consider it the equivalent to “I’m really quiet but once you get to know me…” on MySpace bios, or wall art you buy at Target: mass produced to look like but not be something exclusive, something one-of-a-kind.

 The truth is it is life. Yeah, fuckups happen. But merely acknowledging them doesn’t make them okay. That doesn’t solve or improve anything. I can’t help but feel the effort is in the right place, that it sees genuine value in being relatable. But when people say it to or about themselves, what the hell? We don’t have to be relatable to ourselves. We have to be accountable. And if you’re not part of the solution with yourself, you’re part of the problem.

So where do we start, the rubble or our sins?

I don’t know if one is more right than the other. I think the important thing is consciously prioritizing, and realizing that where you choose to start shouldn’t also be where you end because where you go is how you grow.

Thanks, Bastille, for being a massive radio spin that makes me think. I don’t feel hollow when I hear you. 

Feel free to check out the lyrics and song on the YouTube

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