Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Songs of 2014: #1

#1. "Red Eyes" - The War on Drugs

At the end of this 25 song, year-end celebration, we're so obviously left with The War on Drugs. And, not just this song, but the entirety of their will-be seminal album Lost in the Dream and it's perfectly qualified collection. Lost in the Dream, and explosive tracks like this one, quietly moved rock forward in 2014. Not the blurry indie-rock, synth-rock, experimental rock landscape; Adam Granduciel's immaculate guitar trickery and handsome howl pushed real rock into its next chapter. His previous cult following moved into the critically acclaimed limelight with him. In all of it's rock purity and crisp production, Lost in the Dream is a grown, broken man, putting himself back together song by song, through all sorts of desolate heartland odes, riff-packed highway jams and retro rompers. While songs like the riotous "Red Eyes" start on familiar, maybe seemingly Dad-rock notes - following Granduciel's best formula, they never stay that way for long. They climb into grand territory, establishing themselves as some of the most formidable new classics in contemporary rock 'n roll. 

I doubt that in his own haze of self-discovery Granduciel knew this would be the case, but reflective collections like these plant seeds you didn't know you needed planted until they're blossoming. Because, similar to Springsteen, Young and Dylan's greatest work, these songs are just as blatantly melancholy, alive, confused and optimistic as the rest of us. I didn't know I needed to hear this album until I was hearing it, and after my first few listens, I was inexplicably invigorated. Which is probably how the 34 year-old felt when he completed this big, beautiful confessional - lost, and then 10 songs later, suddenly a little bit found. He's shamelessly all about the personal journey. And, between the powerful instrument use, obvious pulls from every influential music prophet of the past, and his own simple genius - Granduciel's gospel will leave you wide awake.

Standout tracks: "Red Eyes", "Under The Pressure", "Eyes to the Wind", "An Ocean Between The Waves"

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