On A Deeper Understanding, The War on Drugs Prescribe a Heavenly Dose of Rock ‘n’ Roll

By Sarah Dezio

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This album is worth the 73 minutes of your life. It’s one of those albums that you can feel in your chest. The emotion, the vibrations. You name it, and you’ll feel it. Each song has a calming, therapeutic vibe to it while still providing upbeat undertones that give you an endless supply of goosebumps. The album definitely throws you back in time into the 80s with dashes of Springsteen-like tunes tossed into it.

A majority of the songs signify a message of growth. The lyrics describe a stagnant moment in life, love and struggles. The songs represent moving forward from these tough times. In “Pain,” there is a lyric that exhibits this: “I resist what I cannot change, I wanna find what cannot be found.” In addition to “Pain,” “Rising Again” exhibits this with lines like “I’m rising from within” and “there’s always something bigger leaning on the other side.” All of these lyrics show perseverance and growth within the scenarios described in each song.

The imagery in this album is simply pristine, especially in “Thinking of a Place.” It’s the longest song on the album and could probably be an album by itself. Listeners can picture an entire scene of a walk on a beach under the moonlight. The only downfall to this song is the placement on the album. I wish they had placed it sooner to capture the listener more in the beginning versus waiting until just after halfway.

Overall, this is the kind of album you just want to tap your foot to (and you probably will).

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Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Damn the Torpedoes showed late rocker in peak form

By Jason Klaiber

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To conclude a week that marked the untimely and bewilderingly reported passing of Tom Petty, one of rock ‘n’ roll’s preeminent songwriters whose work even resonated with those belonging to generations well beyond his own, it only feels natural to craft a write-up of his band’s third—and, by most accounts, best—album: 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes.

The record bursts out of the starting gates with the sweltering classic “Refugee,” a trademark Heartbreakers assemblage of hard-hitting instrumental punches and swagger-laden vocals. It’s a song that never gets old and still sounds just as remarkably fresh nearly four decades after its recording.

“Here Comes My Girl” effortlessly builds from an eerie spoken word delivery to a bursting-at-the-seams bridge and culminates in the most tender of choruses, all within its first minute.

Tunes like “Even the Losers,” with its point of inspiration that “even the losers get lucky sometimes,” as well as “Shadow of a Doubt (Complex Kid)” share space between infectious melodies and stories detailing small but uplifting glimmers of hope.

There’s no denying the catchiness behind Top 10-charting hit and fan favorite “Don’t Do Me Like That,” a track abounding with attitude that should make anyone in earshot spring with joyfulness.

Of the tracks that make up the rest of the album, “You Tell Me” is the most deserving of praise, its tone and lyrical dialogue taking up an excellent robust quality.

Along with the group’s diamond-selling greatest hits package from 1993, this record is a must-have for anyone with a hankering for rock music conjoined with keen pop sensibilities. Its nine songs clocking in at just under 40 minutes in runtime, the still stylish Damn the Torpedoes manages to exemplify everything that brought enduring fandom to Tom Petty and the band that stuck beside him until the very end.

Brand New’s Science Fiction Serves As A Gratifying Grand Finale

By Ashley Gallagher

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Science Fiction is the fifth and likely final album by the 2000’s demo band Brand New. The album peaked at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 charts even though there are no physical copies yet.

Science Fiction opens with “Lit Me Up,” which is the first single of this new album. It starts with prerecorded words over haunting music, almost as if it were an ode to their previous album, Daisy. This acts as a theme for the whole album, bringing it together and forming a loose science fiction-like concept and creates a new atmosphere on the album that has never been seen on their previous work. “Can’t Get Out” is an upbeat song, but with strong themes of depression shown blatantly in the lyrics. “Could Never Be Heaven” is easily one of my favorites on the album due to the eerie acoustic riffs weaved into it.

The band relies heavily on the use of acoustic guitars and Jesse Lacey’s signature lyrical abilities, but beyond that, it is the use of elements from their previous album that really bring it all together to help develop a more unique sound. It is most clear on “Same Logic/Teeth.” The song starts with a soft acoustic guitar, like what you’d see on Deja Entendu, but the melody and lyrics are very much like Daisy. As the song progresses, there are hints of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me with the use of very deep backing vocals, but when the bridge comes in, there is a feeling of Your Favorite Weapon because of the strong buildup and screaming-like qualities. Each song on the album has a similar progression to combine each of their albums into a single work without it being too overwhelming and giving Science Fiction its own identity, as seen clearly on “Out of Mana” and “No Control.” To close the album, the band throws in “Batter Up,” a sad song touching on the band’s breakup.

If you aren’t a Brand New fan or have never heard their other albums, it makes it even harder to appreciate the genius behind the lyrics, the instruments and the concept itself because it sounds really bland and blends together. Although very melodic, the album has a weird vibe to it that you have to get use to before fully appreciating it, which makes a lot of people disinterested in it. You almost have to be in the mood to listen to the album; most people cannot just turn it on whenever they feel like it. With that being said, there is a nostalgic quality that looms over the album without being too redundant, for every aspect of Brand New is represented. If this really is Brand New’s last album, it would be the perfect way to go out.