At my age there are few bands I am passionate enough about that I wait in anticipation for their new releases, but War on Drugs is one of them. Call them Dad Rock all you want, I've accepted that I am a middle aged dad with a dull, buzzing ache in my soul that's been there around the time I turned 35. The War on Drugs is novocaine for that ache.
"I Don't Live Here Anymore" is the title track of the new album and might now be my favorite song of theirs ever. It's got that driving early Dire Straits beat and the "80s Dylan but good" sound is compounded by direct references to "Shelter From the Storm" and "Desolation Row." More than that, the lyrical themes speak deeply to where I'm at right now. The pandemic and general political breakdown have me going back to philosophy, and in the process have had a personal transvaluation of values, if I can be Nietzschean about it.
I am becoming more aware than ever of what matters and what doesn't. One thing that matters to me is that I still keep seeking, discovering, and learning new things. That's a theme to this song, a passionate cry against the temptations to torpor offered by flabby middle age. To seek, to strive, to find, and all that jazz.
It's fittingly ironic then that The War of Drugs sings these songs in a transformed version of the sound flabby middle aged rockers adopted in the 80s. The fact that those gated snares, airy synths, and reverby guitars could be made to sound so sublime is a miracle on par with the miracle of life itself. "I want to find everything I need to know" indeed.
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