I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at with questions or ideas!

What does "Joy" by Bastille mean?

What does "Joy" by Bastille mean?

“Joy” Lyrics Meaning

In an interview with NME, the band said that “Joy is that moment at the end, that is almost that moment of redemption, where you wake up on the kitchen floor and all of the anxieties come flooding in… and something as simple as a call or a message from somebody… that can just bring you back. … The smallest little things that can pull you back from feeling like you’re on the brink.” The song is written from the perspective of someone entering an emotional darkness, who is brought out by a simple phone call from someone who cares.

“How do you always know when I’m down?”

Bastille’s most recent single “Joy” is off their upcoming album “Doom Days.” “Doom Days” is described by the band as a concept album taking place during“an apocalyptic house party,” where those present attempt to deal with the world falling around them. They have, however, also emphasized that it is a loose concept, and the songs are given room to breathe even as they reflect the themes of the apocalyptic premise. This explanation of “Joy”  will focus on the framework Bastille has given us for this specific song, and won’t be discussing the concept aspect of the album. Since the metaphor of the apocalypse was created as another way to convey the ideas expressed in the songs of this album, it should not alter the interpretation of “Joy,” that the band has already given us.

Verse 1

Thought I'd never be waking on the kitchen floor

But here I lie, not the first time

Now my morning has broken, and it brings the fear

My mind's falling, falling

The narrator is disappointed that he is “waking on the kitchen floor” after he had hoped to “never” do so again. The significance of waking on the kitchen floor is largely found in the feeling out-of-placeness it evokes. For someone to wake on the kitchen floor they must be kept from their bed (a place of refuge and rest), which is a disruption of a comforting routine in the narrator’s life. Whatever negative circumstances lead him to sleep on the kitchen floor, the disruption has left his morning “broken, and it brings the fear” of his mind “falling” back into an unhealthy pattern once again.


Then I feel my pulse quickening

But regrets can't change anything

Yeah, I feel my pulse quickening

When your name lights up the screen

His anxiety continues along an unwelcome progression as he feels his “pulse quickening.” Though it doesn’t specify what he regrets, it is likely the choices he has made that have lead to this emotional spiral. He reminds himself that his “regrets can’t change anything.” He feels his “pulse quickening” again, but this time it is because the name of someone he knows “lights up the screen” of his phone as they call him.


Oh Joy, when you call me

I was giving up, oh, I was giving in

Joy, set my mind free

I was giving up, oh, I was giving in

How do you always know when I'm down?

How do you always know when I'm down?

The narrator tells the caller that he “was giving up” and “giving in” but the conversation they’re having has “set [his] mind free.” This person has helped him before, and the narrator is in wonder at how he/she “always know[s] when [he’s] down” and is able to bring him back to “joy” and stop his mental death spirals.

Though it’s not clear if the person’s name is “Joy,” the strongest evidence for the song’s title coming from the feeling the person inspires in the narrator, rather than the caller’s name, is the outro line: “I feel joy when you call me.”

Verse 2

Take a walk through the wreckage, clearing out my head

I hear your eyes roll right down the phone

I'm your walking disaster, keep on dragging me

From self-pity, poor me

He is able to look at “the wreckage” of his former state of mind without being connected to the destruction as his head clears. The conversation has light-hearted moments as he pictures the person on the other end of the line rolling their eyes. The narrator wonders why this person continues to drag him “from self-pity,” and feels like he’s nothing more than a burdensome “walking disaster.” The loyalty of the other person as they continue to call him when he is in pain says they believe otherwise.

Pre-Chorus 2

Then I feel my pulse quickening

But I wouldn't change a thing

This time his heart beating faster is purely excitement about talking on the phone with this person he cares for. He “wouldn’t change a thing” to make himself less excited to speak with him/her.


As the night dissolves into this final frame

You're a sweet relief, you saved me from my brain

From my brain, from my brain, from my brain

The fear and pain he was experiencing “dissolves into this final frame”, or moment of the song. The person on the other side of the line is a “sweet relief” from his former state of mind because he/she has “saved [him] from [his] brain.”

Deeper Meaning of “Joy” by Bastille

“Joy” is one of Bastille’s most uplifting songs and acknowledges the pain that we experience in life while also providing the truth of a hope for escape. It’s an important reminder for those who are in a period of pain, heartbreak, grief, anxiety or depression that there is always an end to the downward spiral. There is always a reason to hold on to hope. Whether it’s a friend who calls you at just the right time, a song that touches your heart, or a revelation that shifts your entire day, week, month, or year, there is always something coming to remind you that joy is real. It isn’t something we made ourselves believe we felt once. Joy is just as real and powerful as any pain we experience, if not more so. Joy does return. It’s worth the journey.

“Joy” also emphasizes the importance of simple acts of love. Giving a friend in need a call can help them to feel less alone, and remind them that they are loved. While it’s never our responsibility to manage the mental health or emotional state of others, “Joy” shows us that what might feel like a small action to us, can be used by God to bring hope to someone we love.

What does "Alligator" by Of Monsters and Men mean?

What does "Alligator" by Of Monsters and Men mean?

What does "Wow, I'm Not Crazy" by AJR mean?

What does "Wow, I'm Not Crazy" by AJR mean?