12 Essential Songs by The War on Drugs

Celebrating the release of 'A Deeper Understanding'

The War on Drugs new album A Deeper Understanding out today, the first new album since their incredible 2014 album Lost in the Dream.

We put together some of the best songs from the Philadelphia rock group’s past to celebrate their new album. Take a listen and enjoy below:

An Ocean in Between the Waves

After spending a year writing “An Ocean In Between the Waves” Adam Granduciel scrapped the demo two weeks before he was supposed to hand it off to his record label. When asked why, he simply said “it wasn’t the vibe of the song that I was searching for.”


Red Eyes

“Red Eyes” might be The War on Drug’s most recognizable song. This one was the lead single from their previous record Lost In The Dream partly because it’s more accessible as a rock track, as well it’s length compared to others from the album.


A Pile of Tires

When The War On Drugs formed, Kurt Vile was one part of the duo with Adam Granduciel, sharing writing duty during their first two records. Following their second album Wagonwheel Blues, Vile left to pursue a solo career. Granduciel became the primary (and only) songwriter of the band, writing his first ‘solo’ album Future Weather, and with it “A Pile of Tires”.

Eyes to the Wind

It only took Adam Granduciel four minutes to write “Eyes to the Wind” but took him months to finish. This was his attempt at being “Open and Honest”, and you can hear it in his lyrics like “But I’d be lying to myself if I said I didn’t mind…lost inside my head, is this the way I’ll be denied, again?”

Under the Pressure

The second single from Lost In The Dream, though it was cut down significantly from its 9 minute album length for radio. Granduciel said he was experimenting a lot with drum loops during the time which is apparent right off the bat of this song. As for the rest, “I just found two chords I liked, and built it up, did like a ten-minute drum pattern” he said.


In Reverse

You can really hear the Bob Dylan influence in this track. Granduciel, being a huge Dylan fan was absolutely floored by the success in the production of “In Reverse,” which he says “gives me hope for my future musical endeavors.”



“Burning” is a fitting title for the this track. With a full minute of swelling loop, the remainder of its upbeat nature is a huge payoff once you get to it. Listen for the shimmering synths in the background, vocal harmonies in the chorus and the “burning” drums; it’s a largely reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen.

Best Night

In the opening track from 2011’s Slave Ambient, you can really hear a lot of influences mixing together. Adam Granduciel is playing with looping and psychedelic guitar tones all while channeling his take on Bob Dylan.


Immediatley following “Best Night”, “Brothers” is the second track off Slave Ambient. It’s has an up-beat driving quality to it, and is slightly more polished than the previous track.


Arms Like Boulders

Here we find early The War On Drugs from the title track off 2008’s Wagonwheel Blues, back when Kurt Vile was writing with Granduciel. It’s far different than any of the band’s later works, and draws more of an influence of indie rock groups like Pavement or Wilco.


Granduciel said he wasn’t feeling down at all when he recorded “Suffering” while home alone back in 2012. However when he heard the sound of a song called “Suffering” he knew he’d found a great fit.

Lost In The Dream

A personal favourite, the title and penultimate track from Lost In The Dream is hazy and dream-like, great I find for falling sleep or calming down in stressful situations.