Bastille - "Fake It" (Singles Going Steady)

"Fake It" is a crepuscular, R&B-shaded synthpop ballad forged from heavyhearted nostalgia and gilded in flickering neon.

Pryor Stroud: The second single from Bastille's forthcoming LP Wild World, "Fake It" is a crepuscular, R&B-shaded synthpop ballad forged from heavyhearted nostalgia and gilded in flickering neon. Like the best Bastille tracks, lead singer Dan Smith's vocal is planted centerstage and, as always, it's a dazzling spectacle to behold: operatic, laden with heartache, capable of both anthemic bombast and nuanced impressionism, it's a voice that seems to reduce everything around it to mere ornamentation -- a curse, sometimes, but for "Fake It", a blessing. "Oh my lover, my lover, my love / We can never go back," he sings, a reverberating cry of desire expanding behind him, and as he holds the syllable of "love" on the edge of his tongue, it's easy to envision him taking his lover's hand, asking her to forget the city where they once shared happiness. Perhaps this was the city first imagined in the band's 2013 breakout single "Pompeii", a place of thriving souls now petrified in ash. [8/10]

Evan Sawdey: When Bastille performed during Lollapalooza 2016, they looked tired. One day shy of a year since the last time they performed in Chicago (then at the Aon Ballroom, where they spoke to PopMatters backstage),the group that 364 days prior said, in referring to their second full-length studio effort, that they "smashed it", were running through a set of songs that they had been playing and playing and playing for years. When the bop of a pop single "Good Grief" dropped over a month ago, radio gave a big yawn even as they managed to achieve their single most succinct pop moment since "Pompeii" launched them into the spotlight all those years ago. "Fake It" isn't as strong a track, but it's clearly a textrual shift from the chant-along whoa-ooh vocals that had become their calling card. This '80s synth-indebted mid-tempo song, like "Good Grief", follows around a simple lyrical conceit (this time about not wasting, well, time), and while the end result is more pleasant than memorable, hearing Dan Smith singing about wanting to "destroy each mistake" feels possibly self-reflective given the long wait between studio efforts, but, especially when coupled with "Good Grief", points to a fascinating future, just the way the band would like it. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: The skittish beats work nicely with the almost anthemic keyboards and soaring hooks, but the dramatic production tends to distract from the fact that the song itself is kind of an empty Coldplay soundalike. There are some nice nods to '80s dance/alt-pop, and I'm curious as to what the rest of the album is like, but there's nothing terribly groundbreaking going on here. [6/10]

Chad Miller: Really enjoyable pop song. It sounds decently original, and the bass is so nice in the piece. The ending descant is pretty good too though it is short lived. Overall, the song's been put together really well, and all of its elements click immediately. [7/10]

Steve Horowitz: Oh boy, here come the warm jets of English rock where repetition heightens desire. This is a love song one can never sing, just hum along in tempo to the rhythm of one’s beating heart. Destroy your mistakes before they destroy you, share your scars, and hope to do one’s best. This may be a cry of desire, but not romance. The strength of the song lies in its determination to make something out of an affair in search of love, but where love never blooms. [7/10]

SCORE: 6.80





'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?


Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.


IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.


Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.


NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.


PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.


David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.


Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".


Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.


The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.