#1 - THE WAR ON DRUGS: "Lost in the Dream"
Early in 2014, I had heard the latest album by Beck and proclaimed that it would probably top my list of favorite albums of 2014. I was quickly proven wrong, upon acquiring this, the third full length release from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania band, THE WAR ON DRUGS. I had seen a flurry of posts on Instagram featuring this band... most from people that I share many similar tastes... and knew that I needed to check it out. I went in blind, optimistic that I would enjoy it. What I heard was far more than I ever expected to hear...
"Lost in the Dream" is what I currently consider my third favorite album of all time. THAT is how good it is. There is rarely a time that I put this album on and don't find myself listening to it 2 or 3 times. When it ends, I can't help but start back at the beginning. From the moment this album begins to the moment it ends, there is nary a weak moment to be found. Instead, you are taken on a musical journey rife with a plethora of influences that run the musical gamut. In his writing, band leader and principal songwriter, Adam Granduciel, culls from many artists that came before him, as well as some from his contemporaries. What he makes is purely original. Every song feels different, yet warmly familiar. The music has so many layers that each time you listen to it, you notice something different that adds to the beauty and ambiance of the listen. I hear Dylan. I hear Petty. I even hear The Cure on one track. Springsteen gets HIS not, and even Rod Stewart's influence can be heard on the track "Burning", that starts off with a surreal soundscape and then launches into an upbeat and infectious numbers that hearkens back to the grooves found in "Young Turks".
Simply put, for me, this album will be timeless. It isn't one that I ran into full force and burned out quickly. It is lush, melancholic, beautiful from every corner of it's broad musical vision. It's not very often that albums come along like this. I remain optimistic that what The War on Drugs delivers next to their wanting fans will be good, but I can't bring myself to believe it could be better than this. Am I worried? No. Not at all... because they have already blessed my life with one of the most incredible albums that I have ever heard.
"Under the Pressure" (Official Video)
Full performance on KEXP