Author: Sofi Gonstead
After a 4 year hiatus, The War On Drugs has once again released a record that immediately and unsurprisingly evoked every emotion in my body.
I’m being a bit dramatic, absolutely, but, embarrassingly, I am not lying. The first time I ever heard a song by The War On Drugs I was 14 years old. The band’s 2014 album, Lost In A Dream, had just been released and I came across the song “Burning”, likely via the XM Radio in my mom’s car during a ride to school.
I Don’t Live Here Anymore, The War On Drugs’ newest studio album, released on Oct. 29th, delivered for me. Although the band’s growth is evident on the record, there is that familiar–and distinctly American–sound that is very reminiscent of the band’s previous records, especially the 2017 album A Deeper Understanding. With twangy, echoey vocals which are often referencing rivers, backroads and other rural landscapes to the predictable slow-burn ballad. But despite the (dare I say) country rockness of it all, the lyrics are consistently and dependably rich. They are emotional, heavy, and deeply tied to universal human experiences of pain.
The War On Drugs (forget not that we are talking about a band, here) has carried with them a distinct sound which feels unapologetically rooted in legends of the past. The synthy and melodic hints of the band’s artistic influences are far more than just hints–they are borderline homages. One cannot ignore the blatant and easily recognizable twinkle of Springsteen that seems to come through in nearly every track on the album. I think particularly of the title track, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” which features the goddesses of harmonization, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, of the group Lucius.
Frontman Adam Granduciel knows what he’s doing. He knows what he likes in a melody, and he certainly does it well. I Don’t Live Here Anymore is for everyone. Although it may feel a bit more nostalgic for an older audience than a younger one, it gives the group a power to reach a wide variety of listeners. It is an album about change, and that is something that no individual can pretend they haven’t fallen victim to at some point in their lives.
Despite running a very solid 52 minutes and 20 seconds, I do have a favorite track on this record. So, if you’re the type who doesn’t have time to listen to albums from beginning to end, I’m officially recommending that you listen to the fourth track, “I Don’t Wanna Wait”. Personally, this was the song I couldn’t get out of my head. The intro–slow and smooth– has a jazzy, 80s feel, and Granduciel’s words struck me with their sense of desperation and relatability in this one.
Since their formation in 2005, A War On Drugs has remained authentic to themselves without selling out. They are an alternative, indie rock band. But that simply isn’t the first impression they give off when you hear them for the first time. You’d think they’ve been around for a lot longer than they have.
Sofi Gonstead｜Google: Who is Bruce Springsteen?｜KXSU Music Reporter