A couple of years ago, I attended the Austin City Limits music festival in Texas. The group I went with decided to drive the entire way down from Columbus, Ohio. On the way down, the three of us stopped in Memphis, Tennessee and stayed the night at a Super 8 Motel before venturing the rest of the way in the morning. A few days of burning in the hot Austin sun and being drenched by all-day downpours followed, and it was one of the more unique experiences I’ve had in my life. On the way back, we decided to make the entire trip — 24 hours — without stopping for anything besides food and gas.
On the way home, probably as we crossed through Tennessee and Kentucky and neared the capital city of The Heart of it All, I started to visualize the front door of my house while I stared out into that creepy overnight fog. And as we got closer, as the exits and streets became familiar, there was a craving welling inside me. I ached for home. When we arrived and I saw the red front door of the place I call home, I realized I’d only been away for a few days. But the feeling of crossing the threshold, falling into a familiar bed, is something I’ll always remember.
The new single from Philadelphia band The War On Drugs connected me to that palpable longing. Lead singer Adam Granduciel’s voice is the machete that hacks through the sonic guitar haze that surrounds it, carving a path through the late-night fog and singing of returning to the place you’re truly from. There’s trash on the streets and a smell like fresh rain in the air. There’s a glass of sweet tea waiting for him on the kitchen table, and it tastes familiar. And his lady sleeps in the bed down the hall, with an empty space waiting next to her for him to crawl into. And as his voice slides into the background, one might imagine Granduciel drifting off to sleep.
“Come To The City,” I have to imagine, is a love letter to the places we feel we belong. Take me back to the place I’m from… I’ve been rambling. I’ve been moving… I’m just drifting. Toward home.
The War On Drugs album Slave Ambient is out August 16 on Secretly Canadian. I can’t wait.