Good Grief

Album: Wild World (2016)
Charted: 13

Songfacts®:

  • The first single from Bastille's Wild World album, the song was released on June 16, 2016.
  • Frontman Dan Smith told NME the story behind the tune: "I love hooks and making big pop songs that hopefully you'll remember, but lyrically I'm drawn to topics that are slightly less well-trodden," he said. "So this is a song about loss, but the ups and downs of it and those moments of euphoria you get."
  • The track features a couple of snippets from 1980s teen movie Weird Silence. Dan Smith explained: "The samples of dialogue in the song are there to give it a sense of nostalgia. Weird Science is a film that's long before my time, but there was something about Kelly Le Brock's voice and something about that line opening the song that I just loved."
  • "Good Grief" is generally used as an exclamation of surprise, shock, or amazement. The term was frequently used in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. However, in this song the phrase is used literally to describe an euphoric sorrow.

    "I guess it's kinda ironic, isn't it? 'Cause I don't know if there's anything good in the grief process," Smith told ABC Radio regarding the title. "And ['Good Grief' is] maybe about trying to find that, as well. But, I guess the song for me is like a series of snapshots from a kind of funereal scene, and then it's sort of up to the listener to kind of impose whatever they feel on the song."
  • Shot over six days in Madrid, the colorful video was directed by NYSU (Wild Beasts, New Order, Philip Selway). The clip features the singing, disembodied head of Dan Smith, plus a collection of surreal, seemingly random shots that eventually overlap.

    Dan Smith said of the visual, "It is like a mad visual Rubik's cube that takes a load of archetypal narrative scenarios and then twists and collides them together. We wanted to make something fun and chaotic and surreal that would serve as a fittingly odd accompaniment to the song."
  • Dan Smith explained in a NME Song Story video that he "wanted to write about how bizarre grief and loss are, either literally because someone's died, or through the loss of a relationship."

    The Bastille frontman added that he wanted the song to encapsulate, "the stages of denial, shock, depression and complete euphoria" that come with feelings of grief, as well as the experience of being at a funeral. "It could be a massive celebration of someone, or hugely sad. There could be moments of euphoria and people getting pissed and collapsing on the floor."
  • Bastille drummer Chris Wood explained to Radio.com regarding the shots of Smith's singing decapitated head. "The label was always trying to get Dan to video lip-synch, so he flippantly said, 'Well, I'll do it if I can be a severed head on the floor.' Lo and behold, first shot was Dan in a green suit on a green screen being the head."
  • Kelly Le Brock joined Bastille when they performed the song on Ellen. The Weird Science actress spoke the lines that the band sample in the song, clad in a red dress similar to the one she wore in the film.
  • "Good Grief" tops a list compiled by UK life insurance comparison site Reassured of songs millennials want at their funerals. Reassured compiled the tally in early 2020 by analyzing funeral-themed playlists on Spotify. Runner-up is Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's "See You Again" followed at #3 by Ed Sheeran's "Supermarket Flowers."

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