by Dylan James
photo by Shawn Brackbill
What is “American music” in 2018? That’s an easy one. It’s The War On Drugs. And not just because Adam Granduciel channels Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen into his triumphant tidal wave of indie/emo/folk/rock, but because of how profoundly heartbreaking it all is at its core. On “Pain”, Granduciel sings: “I’ve been pullin’ on a wire but it just won’t break / I’ve been turnin’ up the dial but I hear no sound / I resist what I cannot change / And I wanna find what can’t be found.” It’s an anthem for finding hope in hopelessness, reckoning with what’s already lost, admitting defeat and singing anyway. Because at this point, what else can an American do? It really might not get better, but a song should never lie. Granduciel tells the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts.