Sometimes, well a lot of times actually, you get a little obsessive about a song, listening to it over and over again. For me these days that song is ‘Under the Pressure’ from The War On Drugs. It’s almost nine minutes of dreamy, moody pop, anchored by a simple piano-based melody. The ambient layers and clean guitar lines remind me so much of Roxy Music’s Avalon. However, Adam Granduciel’s vocals are a bit rougher, grittier than Bryan Ferry’s crooning so you get this romantic but rustic feel – woodsy, if that makes sense. It’s really beautiful and it’s no surprise to me that the band often gets compared to Tom Petty, one of our great romantic rockers.
Long pop songs that are really worth those extra minutes are hard to find. But, this being the internet age, of course someone – the UK’s NME – has posted a playlist (!!) of that exact thing. BEST LONG SONGS is a mix of pop, rock and r&b with the only link being every track is over seven minutes. Nice to see ‘Sinnerman’ follow ‘Blue Monday’ but where is Death Cab for Cutie’s indie opus ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’? Man, I listened to that on repeat for about six weeks back in ’08.
But going back to The War On Drugs, I’m not familiar with their earlier incarnation, when Kurt Vile was part of the band and they wore their Bob Dylan influences on their sleeves. The band’s latest album Lost in the Dream is my introduction and while I do hear Dylan’s impact, especially on the slower songs and vocals, the sound is much more layered and full to be considered folky or even singer-songwriter. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Granduciel said, with the new album, he wanted to move away from the way he used to compose and write songs that “people could connect with on another level”.
For more War tunes, I’ll leave you with the official ‘Red Eyes’ video. Enjoy!