“And you’re, you’re the kind to hide your eyes from the sun
And in your world the strong survive
But won’t you lay your body down
Yes and now, now’s the time to wrap your ears around the sound
Of your train coming round
You’ll have to lay everything down.”
~Arms Like Boulders
The War on Drugs, Wagonwheel Blues
Tonight I get to see one of my favorite bands of 2014, The War on Drugs, perform here in town. I’m crossing my fingers for a setlist full of “Lost in the Dream.” I will give myself a present if I don’t break down in tears during “In Reverse.” Or maybe, if I do, that will be a present of its own kind.
I am taking this day as an opportunity to revisit some of their older tracks, which carry much of the same aesthetic with less of the study. The story of how hard Adam Granduciel worked on this album for a year in and out of Philadelphia studios became intertwined with its own success, told and retold in celebratory reviews. Rightfully so, I’d say, as I like it when critics recognize and reaffirm the work that goes into creating something worthwhile. This album is full of shadows and light, woven together with seemingly off the cuff lyrical content, from daylight observations to silent musings alone in the dark. These are not words, or melodies, that try too hard. Patience is the key to this album’s success– it is also the biggest difference from past releases, and it is in this self-actualization and realization Granduciel found commercial success. A dream, indeed.
It’s easy to write, when you know how to. Writing well is another matter entirely. That takes a different kind of concentration and focus, one that’s hyped up and hurried by intensity and insanity. I’m hoping to see some of that on display tonight. I need to see some of that on display tonight. I want that reminder of how working hard is worth it every time, trusting yourself is not a risk but a challenge, and while giving up is for losers, getting lost isn’t losing at all.
“And I don’t mind you disappearing
When I know you can be found
When you livin’ on the dark side of the street, damn?
We just livin’ in the moment, making our past, losin’ our grasp through the grand parade.”
The war on Drugs, Lost in the Dream