Fall 2021 New Music

It’s been a while since I’ve written about music here on the blog. If you know anything about me, you know I’m a big-time music lover. I don’t pretend to have ANY vocal ability and I can’t play a single instrument (other than a couple of chords on my Dad’s guitar), but I love music nonetheless.

Here are some snippets about some of the albums and songs that I’m listening to right now. This will kind of help me organize my thoughts as I get ready for my end-of-the-year music posts.

I Don’t Live Here Anymore by the War on Drugs

It’s no real surprise that this album would be in heavy rotation for me right now. I’ve probably listened to it 15-20 times since it was released last week and I’m just about ready to confirm it as my favorite record of 2021. I was honestly a little worried that I would feel like this record would be a letdown from the heights of A Deeper Understanding, the band’s Grammy-winning 2017 album that ranks as one of my all-time favorites. Paired with 2014’s Lost in the Dream, the War on Drugs are on quite a hot streak when it comes to my personal Album of the Year rankings. (See the sidebar.) I thought, “There’s no way they’re going to put out three AOTY winners in a row.” So I guess I was sort of setting myself up for a bit of a disappointment.

But man, I was wrong. This album is both a natural progression of the sound Adam Granduciel has painstakingly curated over the years but also a singular unique recording in the War on Drugs canon. Heartland rock anthems still abound, albeit with neo-retro flair. “Harmonia’s Dream” easily traffics alongside classics like “Red Eyes” and “Pain”, but the synth-heavy back half also makes it stand out. “Living Proof,” the album’s lead single, has a guitar outro that just sounds like midlife to me.

And even though Granduciel’s lyrics cover wellworn ground (lots of references to rain and paths and darkness and light), there’s still a freshness to his voice. Chalk it up to fatherhood or turning forty…who knows. But take this closing line from the album’s final song, “Occasional Rain:”

Ain’t the sky just shades of gray

Until you seen it from the other side?

Oh, if loving you is the same

It’s only some occasional rain

I already LOVE this record. Three classic albums in a row for the War on Drugs.

New music from Jackson Bybee

As you all know, my son, Jackson, released his first album in the spring: Galactic Voyage. It’s been so cool to see his creative process and to be able to share his music with other people. He’s really excited about a new song he’s releasing in a few days. I can’t say much about it, other than this single is in advance of his second album to be released in the near future. But be looking for this release on Spotify (or wherever you stream your music).

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