Listen to The War on Drugs’ latest album, Lost In the Dream, and you’ll be hooked in less than one minute, guaranteed. An absolutely gorgeous, ambitious and sprawling album, Lost In the Dream is the band’s best work. Full of atmospheric drum beats and synths, it’s an album that is as mind blowing on its first listen as it is on the 30th.
Lost In the Dream came out of a time of great anxiety and depression for lead vocalist and guitarist Adam Granduciel, when touring ended for the band’s second album, and he split from his girlfriend. I have loved this album from first listen, but it’s taken me roughly three weeks to realize why I really fell in love with this album. As I was listening to the opening and closing tracks, it hit me: Lost In the Dream perfectly captures the attitude we should all have on life. Sometimes it sucks, and you just focus on getting through. But life is best when we don’t get bogged down by the bullshit and simply keep moving forward. And all of this is perfectly illustrated by the two eight-minute tracks that book end the album. Under the Pressure opens with an almost nervous, unsteady ticking, before breaking 30 seconds in, Adam Granduciel’s vocals joining shortly there-after. Talking about the point at which everything breaks down, Granduciel remains hopeful amidst the chaos: “I’m just wading in the water, just trying not to crack under the pressure.”
In Reverse, the album’s eight-minute-long closing track is considerably more optimistic, as if in the course of writing this album, Granduciel got all of the help he needed. The song opens slowly, with almost two minutes of the sound of waves washing ashore behind the reverb and atmospheric synths. It’s an audible representation of the comfort in simply feeling the pressure of someone being right by your side. In comparison to the opening track, Granduciel seems to have accepted the ups and downs. “I don’t mind you disappearing, ’cause I know you can be found,” he sings on the chorus, as the drums kick in. “We’re just living in the moment, losing our grasp, making it last.”
But Lost In the Dream is more than just the opening and closing tracks. Red Eyes, the album’s most upbeat and approachable track is a total jam. Suffering, is a quiet ballad that brings the pace back down after the album’s first two tracks. Eyes to the Wind is another favorite, a track anchored by a familiar 70s-inspired sound, “Like a train in reverse down a dark road, carrying the whole load, just rattling the whole way home,” Granduciel describes his exhaustion in the opening verse. “I’m a bit run down here at the moment. Let me think about it babe.”
As if we needed more convincing, the album’s title track reminds us again that Granduciel is a phenomenal songwriter. Every single line, verse and song feels instantly relatable: “Lost in the dream, or just the silence of a moment. It’s always hard to tell,” he sings to open the track. “Love’s the key to the things that we see, and don’t mind chasing.” Lost In the Dream is such a beautiful place to be.