Welcome to Under the Covers, your weekly dose of genre-bending with your favorite WBRU artists & songs! From the genuinely good to the seriously strange, we’ve got you covered. This week, we look at Bastille’s cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.”
Bastille, a British band formed in 2010, is most widely known for lead singer Dan Smith’s, raspy, hardened voice and their classic, alternative sound. Yet, in their cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy,” their signature style is thrown by the wayside. The cover opens with a cacophony of chaotic sound before abruptly pausing as Smith leads into the first verse, backed by a single electric guitar. However, the cover then quickly crescendoes as Bastille combines their traditional British alternative vibes with an upbeat surf-rock tempo and strings. While this shift might already read as drastic, the blending of genres is just beginning here.
From the harmonies and the backup vocals to the mixing on the keyboard, the song sounds straight from the beaches of the 1960s. While the score starts out lyrically identical to Eilish, only a minute passes before other familiar tunes begin to leak into the medley. A quick chord change, and the band is singing along to “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, collapsing decades of music into just four and a half minutes. “Misirlou,” the famed Pulp Fiction theme, also gets sampled in the mashup. As the song nears its end, “Bad Blood” (by Taylor Swift, not the Bastille song) gets deconstructed and pieced back together as a sultry, slow bridge before reverting back to the Eilish original, winding the song down. At no point is the cover predictable in melody or style, leaving the audience on the edge of their seat wondering exactly how Bastille is going to tie the distinct notes into one seamless tune. Nothing can quite compare to the funky, fun, and thoroughly bewildering, blend.
The release of this cover comes ten days after Bastille’s most recent album release, Doom Days. The album, which tells the story of a night during an impending apocalypse, doesn’t veer too much from the band’s traditional sound, making this cover an all the more shocking display of the group’s versatility. Be sure to listen to the cover below and catch the band’s new album here!
Photo Courtesy of PinkPop.