April 28, 2013

A Geology Song: Pompeii by Bastille

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

One of my favorite new songs is “Pompeii” by the UK band Bastille. I’m not sure how popular this song is in the USA, but in the UK and also here in South Africa it’s quite popular at the moment. If you haven’t heard the song yet, please take a listen.

The song has a geological theme and makes reference to the famous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, which destroyed and buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Here are the lyrics:

I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

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?

We were caught up and lost in all of our vices
In your pose as the dust settles around us

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

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?
If you close your eyes

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

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

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?

I really like this song. The music is nice, and I also appreciate the lyrics. I am sure that there is metaphor and that there are many ways to interpret the lyrics, but for me the lyrics of “Pompeii” express what it must feel like to be suddenly caught up in a devastating volcanic eruption– or any sudden natural disaster. The environment around you changes so quickly and so shockingly that you are left in a state of disbelief. Your mind can’t keep up. You feel, almost, that if you closed your eyes and opened them again everything would return to normal.

What do you think of the song? Does anyone else have geology-themed songs they enjoy? Perhaps we can start a geoblogging meme!

Here’s the music video for “Pompeii”: