100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #45: “Pompeii” by Bastille

The song at #45 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Pompeii” by British alternative pop-rock band Bastille. Originally started in Leeds in 2010 as a solo project of singer-songwriter Dan Smith – who named his project after the French holiday that’s celebrated on his birthday of July 14 – Bastille later grew into a four-piece. In 2011, they released their debut EP Laura Palmer, featuring songs Dan had previously written. That December, they signed with Virgin Records, and began recording and releasing a series of singles that would become part of their debut album Bad Blood, which dropped in March 2013. One of those singles, “Pompeii”, would catapult Bastille to international fame. It reached #1 in Scotland and Ireland, and #2 in the UK, Italy and Mexico. In the U.S., it peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the Alternative, Adult Alternative and Rock Airplay charts.

Smith wrote the song in 2010 while still a student, after reading about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii. It made him think about all those who perished being forever frozen in time. He later told The Daily Telegraph that he imagined what those dead inhabitants might have to say to one another, and explained the song’s meaning “It is essentially about fear of stasis and boredom. Being quite a shy, self-conscious person, I was afraid my life might get stuck.” “Pompeii” is darkly beautiful, immediately grabbing our attention with its ominous opening chant of  “Eh, eheu, eheu…” (“eheu” is Latin for alas, which is an exclamation of grief, pain, or fear) that’s repeated throughout the track, ending as it started. It was one of the more unusual and haunting songs of the decade.

The fascinating and eerie video plays almost like a mini horror film, albeit not a terribly frightening one. Smith is shown frantically wandering about an empty-looking Los Angeles at night, discovering that the few people he encounters all have unnatural vacant black eyes that resemble the looks of the petrified remains of those who perished in Pompeii. He steals a car and flees to the desert to try and escape, but the car breaks down. The next morning, in a scene filmed next to the Whitewater River in north Palm Springs not far from where I live, he realizes he’s been infected too. In the final scene, he’s atop Mt. San Jacinto looking out at the view, then turns around to reveal his own eyes have turned black.

Top 30 Songs for October 25-31, 2020

  1. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (3)
  2. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (1)
  3. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (2)
  4. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (5)
  5. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (6)
  6. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (7)
  7. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (4)
  8. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (10)
  9. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (11)
  10. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (9)
  11. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (12)
  12. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (8)
  13. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (15)
  14. COME & GO – Juice WRLD featuring Marshmello (21)
  15. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior 22)
  16. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (13)
  17. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (14) 21st week on list
  18. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (19)
  19. FOR SURE – Future Islands (17)
  20. IDENTICAL – Phoenix (23)
  21. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (24)
  22. THE LET GO – Elle King (25)
  23. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (26)
  24. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (16)
  25. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (18)
  26. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (27)
  27. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (28)
  28. BEAUTIFUL ANYWAY – Judah & the Lion (29)
  29. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (30)
  30. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (20)

Top 30 Songs for October 18-24, 2020

  1. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (1)
  2. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (2)
  3. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (4)
  4. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (5)
  5. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (6)
  6. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (7)
  7. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (8)
  8. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (3)
  9. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (12)
  10. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (17)
  11. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (18)
  12. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (14)
  13. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (9)
  14. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (10) 20th week on list
  15. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (16)
  16. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (11)
  17. FOR SURE – Future Islands (17)
  18. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (13)
  19. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (21)
  20. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (15)
  21. COME & GO – Juice WRLD featuring Marshmello (23)
  22. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior 24)
  23. IDENTICAL – Phoenix 25)
  24. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (26)
  25. THE LET GO – Elle King (27)
  26. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (28)
  27. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (29)
  28. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (30)
  29. BEAUTIFUL ANYWAY – Judah & the Lion (N)
  30. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 11-17, 2020

  1. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (3)
  2. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (1)
  3. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (2)
  4. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (5)
  5. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (4)
  6. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (7)
  7. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (9)
  8. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (10)
  9. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (6)
  10. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (8)
  11. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (11)
  12. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (13)
  13. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (15)
  14. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (16)
  15. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (12)
  16. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (18)
  17. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (19)
  18. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (20)
  19. FOR SURE – Future Islands (17)
  20. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (14)
  21. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (21)
  22. HERO – Weezer (22)
  23. COME & GO – Juice WRLD & Marshmello (25)
  24. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior 26)
  25. IDENTICAL – Phoenix 27)
  26. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (28)
  27. THE LET GO – Elle King (29)
  28. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (30)
  29. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (N)
  30. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 4-10, 2020

  1. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (1) 4th week at #1
  2. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (2)
  3. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (4)
  4. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (6)
  5. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (7)
  6. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (3)
  7. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (8)
  8. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (5)
  9. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (10)
  10. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (13)
  11. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (11)
  12. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (9)
  13. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (15)
  14. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (14)
  15. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (17)
  16. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (18)
  17. FOR SURE – Future Islands (19)
  18. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (20)
  19. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (23)
  20. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (24)
  21. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (21)
  22. HERO – Weezer (22)
  23. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (12) 22nd week on list
  24. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (16) 19th week on list
  25. COME & GO – Juice WRLD & Marshmello (30)
  26. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior (N)
  27. IDENTICAL – Phoenix (N)
  28. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (N)
  29. THE LET GO – Elle King (N)
  30. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (N)

Top 30 Songs for September 27-October 3, 2020

  1. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (1)
  2. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (3)
  3. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (2)
  4. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (5)
  5. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (4)
  6. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (6)
  7. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (7)
  8. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (8)
  9. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (10)
  10. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (11)
  11. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (13)
  12. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (9) 21st week on list
  13. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (N)
  14. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (15)
  15. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (16)
  16. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (12)
  17. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (20)
  18. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (21)
  19. FOR SURE – Future Islands (22)
  20. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (23)
  21. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (25)
  22. HERO – Weezer (27)
  23. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (29)
  24. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (30)
  25. ZEN – X Ambassadors, K.Flay & grandson (14)
  26. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (17)
  27. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (18)
  28. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (19)
  29. I GOT YOU – Michael Franti & Spearhead (24)
  30. COME & GO – Juice WRLD & Marshmello (N)

Top 30 Songs for September 20-26, 2020

  1. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (1)
  2. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (3)
  3. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (4)
  4. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (2)
  5. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (6)
  6. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (7)
  7. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (8)
  8. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (9)
  9. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (5)
  10. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (14)
  11. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (20)
  12. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (12)
  13. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (17)
  14. ZEN – X Ambassadors, K.Flay & grandson (15)
  15. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (18)
  16. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (19)
  17. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (10)
  18. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (11)
  19. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (13)
  20. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (23)
  21. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (24)
  22. FOR SURE – Future Islands (25)
  23. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (26)
  24. I GOT YOU – Michael Franti & Spearhead (22)
  25. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (27)
  26. FIRE – Black Pumas (16)
  27. HERO – Weezer (N)
  28. SWIMMING CLOSER – HAZY (21)
  29. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (N)
  30. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (N)

Top 30 Songs for September 13-19, 2020

  1. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (5)
  2. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (2)
  3. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (3)
  4. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (4)
  5. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (1)
  6. MY SOUL’S OWN WARNING – The Killers (9)
  7. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (12)
  8. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (13)
  9. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (14)
  10. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (6)
  11. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (7)
  12. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (8)
  13. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (10)
  14. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (17)
  15. ZEN – X Ambassadors, K.Flay & grandson (16)
  16. FIRE – Black Pumas (11)
  17. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (19)
  18. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (20)
  19. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (21)
  20. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (25)
  21. SWIMMING CLOSER – HAZY (15)
  22. I GOT YOU – Michael Franti & Spearhead (24)
  23. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (26)
  24. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (27)
  25. FOR SURE – Future Islands (28)
  26. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (29)
  27. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (30)
  28. NOT OK! – Chaz Cardigan (18)
  29. HELL N BACK – Bakar (23) 23rd week on list
  30. HOW WILL I REST IN PEACE IF I’M BURIED BY A HIGHWAY?// – Kenny Hoopla (22) 21st week on list

Top 30 Songs for September 6-12, 2020

  1. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (1)
  2. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (2)
  3. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (6)
  4. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (8)
  5. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (20)
  6. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (3)
  7. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (4)
  8. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (5)
  9. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (10)
  10. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (9)
  11. FIRE – Black Pumas (7)
  12. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (12)
  13. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (15)
  14. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (16)
  15. SWIMMING CLOSER – HAZY (14)
  16. ZEN – X Ambassadors, K.Flay & grandson (17)
  17. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (19)
  18. NOT OK! – Chaz Cardigan (13)
  19. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (21)
  20. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (23)
  21. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (24)
  22. HOW CAN I REST IN PEACE IF I’M BURIED BY A HIGHWAY?// – Kenny Hoopla (11) 20th week on list
  23. HELL N BACK – Bakar (18) 22nd week on list
  24. I GOT YOU – Michael Franti & Spearhead (25)
  25. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (29)
  26. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (N)
  27. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (N)
  28. FOR SURE – Future Islands (N)
  29. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (N)
  30. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 20-26, 2019

1. HURT PEOPLE – Two Feet featuring Madison Love (1)
2. HIGH HOPES – Panic! At the Disco (3)
3. GUIDING LIGHT – Mumford & Sons (2)
4. WANDER – Vox Eagle featuring Pierre Fontaine (7)
5. IN THE WATER – The Underground Vault (8)
6. BACK DOWN – Bob Moses (9)
7. MY BLOOD – twenty one pilots (5)
8. THESE ARE MY FRIENDS – lovelytheband (6)
9. DELTA BLUES – Jetstream (10)
10. FAST TALK – Houses (11)
11. YOU’RE SOMEBODY ELSE – flora cash (4)
12. THANK U, NEXT – Ariana Grande (12)
13. APOCALIPSTICK – Lazy Queen (17)
14. PRESSURE – Muse (18)
15. SUPERPOSITION – Young the Giant (19)
16. NEW BIRTH IN NEW ENGLAND – Phosphorescent (16)
17. LOVE IT IF WE MADE IT – The 1975 (20)
18. NORTHERN LIGHTS – Death Cab for Cutie (21)
19. SUNFLOWER (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) – Post Malone & Swae Lee (N)
20. “99” – Barns Courtney (13)
21. IN MY MIND – Draft Evader (14) 20th week on chart
22. WORST NIGHTS – Foster the People (25)
23. UH HUH – Jade Bird (15)
24. LIGHT ON – Maggie Rogers (26)
25. CHANGE – The Revivalists (27)
26. MAKE IT UP AS I GO – Mike Shinoda featuring K.Flay (22)
27. SIGUE CON EL AMOR – John Defeo (30)
28. HAPPIER – Marshmello featuring Bastille (23)
29. LOADING ZONES – Kurt Vile (24) 18th week on chart
30. POWER OVER ME – Dermot Kennedy (N)