Collected thoughts: The War on Drugs

The War On Drugs led by songwriter Adam Granduciel, have been a band since 2005. They won a Grammy in 2017, for their 4th record, A Deeper Understanding. I had not paid all that much attention to them until maybe a month or so ago, when I took a stroll through their back catalog.

I began with their most recent record I Don’t Live Here Anymore (2021) and worked my way back to Slave Ambient (2011) which isn’t the beginning but it’s a good span. Enough for me to decide that I (somewhat sulkily) really do like this band.

I’m sulky mainly because of the band name, which causes me to think muffled cross thoughts about failed social policy. But the name harmonizes well with the band’s overall vibe, which is “skate park during the golden hour.” The music invites nostalgic ruminating and reflection. It’s comforting and comfortable, like cheese quesadillas at 2:30 in the morning after the club has closed or a battered couch at the back of a DIY punk venue.

This morning I listened to Wasted on the way to work and thought about high school, in a wistful, affectionate, melancholy way. About ways in which we (collectively) used to waste time,  while we waited to get to wherever (and whoever) we preferred to be. About certain questions that float through our timelines on regular basis: what did y’all do in the Before? As if the internet is the only solution to boredom. Oh, my lovelies, we did so many things, and we did them without cellphones or a GPS.

The leading, younger edge of GenX is now coming up on the big 5-0. Some of our idols are dead and some of them are out here getting rest stops named for them on the Garden State Parkway. Our rock and roll is old people music now. Our (terrible) fashions are coming back. Our parents are aging and fading, forcing some of us back to the place we once knew, intimately, but don’t live in anymore. My home town is a mall and I keep thinking about that line from Grosse Point Blank (1997):You can’t go home again. But I guess you can shop there.” (I could always shop there.)

This one is called Harmonia’s Dream and I don’t have anything to say about it other than I like it.


Photo by Dustin Condren

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