I’m still baffled by how a musical duo can create any music together, let alone a kickass album, when they’re not even speaking to each other. So strange, so strange. But I suppose this speaks to their incredible talent then, because their new self-titled album is as hauntingly beautiful as their music has ever been. I always picture everything in black and white when I listen to their music. It’s so badass. It just makes you want to punch the air in triumph and say, “Yes! Great music still exists! Yes! Yes! Yes!”
“The One That Got Away” introduces the album and is everything we love about The Civil Wars. It’s that hauntingly beautiful quality that gives you chill bumps, because it’s so damn good. Then you get to the bridge and there’s this high power energy that just kicks you into outer space.
Continuing the level of energy that the lead off song has incited, John Paul singing “I Had Me A Girl” is boondock sexy…if such a thing ever existed. It’s a little gritty, a little naughty, and oh so thrilling. And then Joy comes in and adds a spiritual energy to it.
After you’re launched into a mega high after the first two songs, “Same Old Same Old” brings things down a notch, and now you’re like floating in the milky way…maybe take a little nap to soak up and revere in all this immaculate awesomeness while you’re still floating in mid air amongst the stars.
Following “Same Old Same Old” is “Dust to Dust,” which starts to gently wake you up from your ever peaceful nap. This song is so beautiful, it’s like the sweetest whisper you ever did hear, musically and lyrically.
“Eavesdrop” starts like a quiet, sad morning. And then the tempo picks up as you get out of bed to face what you don’t want to face. It’s a desperate call to hold onto the good part of love. And then it picks up even more into a full out rock ballad before it gradually comes back down to gentle desperation. You know, this song would be so fantastic as an orchestral piece, because of how much the mood and tempo changes.
And with “Devil’s Backbone” you’re fully alert with sharp energy running through your veins once more. In my head I imagine running through the skimpy autumn woods.
After “Devil’s Backbone” finishes in a whisper, you’re suddenly thrust into something happy with “From This Valley”, and you feel like there’s sunshine fiercely breaking through the clouds. It’s almost like you escaped the devil in the previous song, and fell into God’s grace in this song. And I can totally imagine a giant choir coming out towards the end of the song to back them in a live performance of this song.
“Tell Mama” brings you back to a haunting stillness, in which you’re very aware of everything around you—you can feel your chest rise and fall with each breath, and feel the blood pumping through your veins—but at the same time, you feel like you’re in another world. Joy’s just got such an incredible voice that draws you in and you don’t want to and can’t stop listening.
“Oh Henry” picks the pace back up. The chorus is fantastic. The bridge illustrates so well what I love about their music—you don’t always know where it’s going to go. There are just so many layers to each song, It’s absolutely wonderful.
And then you bring back to a calm place with “Disarm.” The lyrics are so fully of poetry, you’re as lost in figuring out what they really mean as you are in their voices and the music.
“Sacred Heart” is in French and sounds like a nice little lullaby. The lyrics paint a very Romeo & Juliet, love under the moon type of image. I adore it. I adore this song.
“D’Arline” closes out the album and I love it, because it sounds like a work tape—a good work tape, but a work tape. It’s got this raw quality, and their voices sounds like they’re coming out of a tape player. So instead of being inside their music, it’s like you’ve come back to reality and realize you’re just sitting here listening to music coming out of an apparatus. Before this song started playing, I was thinking “Sacred Heart” would have been a good song to close out the album, but I like this even better. “Sacred Heart” says goodnight, but “D’Arline,” because it reminds me of a work tape, leaves you wanting more and suggests that there is more to come, as though it lingers like the end of the season of your favorite television show.
I was really excited that this album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, but I was disappointed when I read the numbers, and saw that it topped the charts selling only 116,000 albums, because it’s such incredible music. Everyone needs to hear it. All I can say is I hope people are streaming it like mad on Spotify or whatever they use, and…GO BUY THIS ALBUM!!!! In fact, go buy all of their music! Your soul will thank you :).
BIG LOVE & HUGS