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Meaning of ‘Pompeii’ by ‘Bastille’

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Released: 2013

“Pompeii” by Bastille isn’t just a song with a catchy tune; it’s a deep dive into the feeling of seeing everything you know crumble around you, while trying to find a silver lining. It uses the historical event of Pompeii, a city buried in volcanic ash, as a metaphor for personal or societal collapse.

The lyrics start with “I was left to my own devices, many days fell away with nothing to show” – this is saying that the person spent a lot of time alone and now feels like they haven’t accomplished anything. When it says “And the walls kept tumbling down in the city that we love,” it’s a vivid picture of everything falling apart in a place that is dear to the person. The repetition of “Eh, eheu, eheu” sounds like a sorrowful chant, adding to the song’s haunting atmosphere.

The chorus asks, “But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?” This is a big question in the song. It suggests that maybe, if we try to ignore our problems or pretend they don’t exist, we can convince ourselves that everything is still okay. But the repeated question “How am I gonna be an optimist about this?” shows the struggle of trying to stay positive when everything is going wrong.

“We were caught up and lost in all of our vices, in your pose as the dust settled around us” could mean that the people involved were busy with their own mistakes and flaws, and now they’re standing still as the consequences catch up to them. The song then makes you ponder with “Oh, where do we begin? The rubble or our sins?” This line is asking what we should address first: the physical destruction around us or our personal faults.

In conclusion, “Pompeii” uses the metaphor of a historical disaster to talk about dealing with personal and collective disasters today. It asks if it’s possible to remain hopeful and keep a positive outlook when it feels like everything is crashing down around us. The song captures a universal feeling of despair and the human spirit’s resilience, all wrapped up in a melody that sticks in your head.

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