Thinking of a Place – The War on Drugs

It has been years since I reviewed any music here. Tonight that changes. It’s a strange twist, this song isn’t electronic music. I’ve never been one to stick to the rules, so tonight I will break my own once again. There is likely nothing in this review that hasn’t already been said by smarter, and/or more knowledgeable people, but here it goes…

Let’s start with a story.

I’ve had this song on my playlist for months, but tonight was different. Tonight I came home tired from a long day and I wanted very specifically to listen to this song. I sat down in a rocker on my balcony, and let my body sink fully in. I opened a bottle of Chimay, which greeted me with a pleasant pop. I freed a Cuban from its plastic prison. I put on my Ultrasones and cranked the sound up. What happened next was love.

I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, but I found it in this amazing tune. Before tonight, I listened to this song in the background, nodding my head with the beat, just enjoying the vibe and not paying much attention.

But, tonight was different. The more I listened, the more I was sucked in. It wasn’t long before I found myself googling the lyrics. And, my mind was blown.

Modern poetry. The lyrics are raw, passionate. It’s a pouring of the heart that filled my cup to the brim. As I dug into the words, the song evoked emotions long hidden. This is pure poetry, I felt it, as I listened.

The combination of the chill guitar vibe with pressing vocals, which sprinted past the music both put me at ease, but also kept me alert.

The more I thought about it, and this is entirely my interpretation, this song felt like an homage to a love past. I read several comments about this song, all with differing perspectives. What I felt was this song is about a love who passed away and the pain that accompanies the passing of a love not yet fully realized.

The genius of this song is in the uplifting beat, combined with the melancholy lyrics. Depending on how you feel – in the moment – you might interpret the song differently. To me, this is an amazing combination.

It’s dark, it’s beautiful, it’s uplifting, it’s hopeful. It evokes emotion.

One thing that stood out to me in the mix is how the percussion is low pass filtered around 4:30 which is where I feel the song really takes off.

It’s a story. The story has a beginning, and there is a guitar solo break to amplify the emotion, and then… the chains are off.

The vocals cut deep, they evoke a feeling of longing, desperation, and despair, but hope.

The angelic vocal backing of the last part of the song accentuates the feeling of a desire to connect with a person gone.

There are both pain and healing in this song.

My only criticism of this piece is the guitar solo mix at three minutes feels loud, compared to the rest of the song and also feels too long. To me the guitar solo stuck out just a bit too much, especially the more I listened to this song.

Overall the mix feels raw, and imperfect – but in a great way. The pan is overall very wide, but this does create a great atmosphere in this tune. There are many elements I can pick up every time I listen. I prefer a raw mix, because music isn’t meant to sound perfect every time.

Listen on Spotify here.

Agree? Disagree? I’d love to get your take, email me with your thoughts.

Leave a Reply