An Ocean in Between the Waves by The War on Drugs
I bought Lost in The Dream by The War on Drugs about a month ago, determined to pick it up both because it had received generally good reviews from the music critics I respect the most and because I had given what I can only call a mediocre effort to obtain The War on Drugs’ prior album Slave Ambient (N.B. mediocre in that I checked at Guestroom two different times to try and purchase it, failing both. Thus resigning myself to some kind of karmic determination that it must not have been that good anyway.).
Since my purchase of Lost in the Dream I have taken it out of my CD player, put it back in its case, and thrown it in my console at least four times with the resolution that I would never listen to it again.
But there’s something about it that I can’t get my mind around. Let me start with the things that I don’t like about it. Length. The album is long; all the songs are long. They all have these what seems like 7 minute tags at the end that sound like nothing more than some kind of locked groove at the culmination of some mid-80’s experimental roots-rock LP. Lyrically they don’t say anything very important that I can tell, or really anything witty. The lead singer’s voice is some bastardization between Tom Petty and Bob Seger. (N.B. and you’re shitting yourself if you don’t think that track number 6, Eyes to the Wind, doesn’t feel like some type of indie reboot of “Against the Wind”, however in a way that I don’t actually mind at all and in no way conjures images of Gump running across America.)
Overall, the album sounds like the soundtrack to a movie about “Real America” written and directed by Lars von Trier, or the guy who directed the Swedish versions of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies, or some other European film auteur obsessed with rainy think pieces.
But I still keep listening to it. And I may have decided that the things listed above are also the reasons why I really like it. Well, really like it may be over-selling it. But there is something about it, and as these long ass songs continue to stretch out I find myself getting mesmerized like watching one of those Atlantic City taffy pulling machines.
(N.B. And if you really want to get your shit right, watch the taffy on mute and listen to this song.)
Maybe Lost in the Dream is something that rewards patience. Patience that I don’t particularly expect you, loyal downloaders, to have. (N.B. Please don’t take this as a slight to those of you prone to broodingly over-contemplate (N.B. how’s that for a split infinitive?) minutia such as that which this humble blogger seems to wallow. However, I know quite well there are several of you out there prone to bouts of said over-contemplation. (eg. killamike/Episode VII)). Take for instance an Ocean in Between the Waves, it has one of the most killer (N.B. killerest?) grooves I’ve heard in any song this year. But you have to wait 6 minutes to get to it. So I don’t know. I guess it’s difficult for me to call Lost in the Dream a disappointment given that I keep going back to it, but each time I listen to it I’m expecting the thing, the hook, the hammer to strike me, and I can’t say that it ever has.
I’ll prolly just put it back in my console.