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“DD Review: The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding.”

Score: 4/10

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Wow, trying to decide what part of this album is most a Springsteen ripoff would be like trying to find the most stuck-up person at Ghirardelli Square. Anyway, I’m sure somebody out there has the patience for it, hopefully at least Adam Granducieli’s record execs.
This all wouldn’t be so bad, of course, if this crap weren’t so ridulously, monochromatically MELANCHOLY to the point where I feel like even this dude’s mom would feel bad for him listening to it (I thought signing to a major label was supposed to be a prideful moment… hmm). This is not, in other words, “glory days,” more like bore-y days.
Let’s see, I’ve listened to four really long songs so far and… I’ll give it this: it is better than the new Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It is LISTENABLE: the guy sounds exactly like Mark Knopfler, not like some Tolkien-reading castrato. I’ll give him that.
This whole project, though, does bring to mind Frank Zappa’s project “Broken Hearts are for A**holes.” I just want this a**hole to snap out of it and rail on somebody already. It’s undoubtedly the result of somebody who’s been told that it’s ok to mope around in life, to be constantly be down in the dumps and feel sorry for yourself, instead of manning up and fitting back into society. I think, this is why working a day job can be important, as even in the work of Kurt Vile (who for the record seems to have only contributed electric guitar to one of TWOD’s albums), you get something actually materializing as a sense of HUMOR, something that, not only being a bonus, is actually an absolute necessity for getting through a work day. On the bright side, this War on Drugs album is the perfect dour pi**water to cater to this new wave of music critics of whom a request for a sense of humor would be like asking a lizard to walk through Antarctica.
According to the albeit brilliant interview by uproxx.com, Granducieli was piqued about moving to the major label, Atlantic, from Bloomington, Indiana’s Secretly Canadian, for the opportunity to use more different instruments in the studio on what’s essentially his solo project, and indeed A Deeper Understanding does utilize more synths than Lost in the Dream, an album which came out when this twee-pop revival (Real Estate, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Best Coast et. al.) was far less tired than it is today. What this album doesn’t have, however, is any jazz influence, any darkness, or any tension. It does, though, beacon out a certain niche group for Atlantic, which has been indeed operating since the early days of rock and roll: non-oldies that sound enough like oldies that they could soundtrack a freakin’ old-folks-home bingo game.

 

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