Thursday, September 4, 2014

Red Eyes

I’m seeing The War On Drugs this weekend.
I needed to get that out first and foremost, because I’m so stupid excited about it. You know who else is excited about it? My dad. Yes, my dad and I are going to see The War On Drugs together this weekend, and that’s amazing.

It should be noted that this isn’t a common occurrence. At least, it hasn’t been for a decade. In the early 2000s my dad came to concerts with me — I needed a ride, and he thought it kept him hip. (He still pats himself on the back when he recognizes an Interpol song.) But I grew up, moved away, and could drive myself, so my dad and I haven’t had reason to see a concert together in ages. But The War On Drugs are special. Really, really special.

You’ve probably heard at least some of Lost In The Dream—the band’s marvelous third album—by now. If we’re friends, you better have. It is the rock album of the year. (And yes, I’ve already listened to the new DFA1979 album.) You’ve heard of a road movie, right? Well, this is a seminal ‘road album’ if I’ve ever heard one. It’s the musical equivalent of Easy Rider for the millennial set, with the heartbreak to match. Adam Granduciel has woven the ultimate soundscape of disappointment and longing, at once expansive and deeply personal.

Granduciel hasn’t set out to reinvent the wheel; he’s polished it. Indeed, this album could have been released any time over the last four decades and would have held up just as well. Granduciel has spent a lot of time absorbing the influences of his idols, from Dylan to Springsteen to Stewart, and it shows. While he pays tribute, he exalts himself to their level by doing it just as well. That’s what makes this album so special, and why it translates across generations. Many artists play homage to their influences; few are able to capture their essence so completely that they could be counted as contemporaries. This is an example of stylistic mastery—take note.

But anyway, dads should love this shit. Mine does, at least. You know who else will love it? You will. I promise. Just listen to the single Red Eyes. Or go a little deeper, and listen to the album's 9 minute-long opening track, Under The Pressure. You'll get it.

The War On Drugs play the AV Festival this Saturday in Chicago (with a slew of other great acts including Valerie June, Empires, and Mac DeMarco). Look for me; I’ll be the adult woman rocking out with her dad.


best 1990s broadway musicals said...

Music is my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul.

David Bronson said...

holy shit. thank you for turning me on to the war on drugs.. very seriously.

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