nowListening: Rooms of the House by La Dispute

All songs and lyrics belong to La Dispute, not me. I’m just here to share my own interpretation of and experience with them.

This isn’t meant to be a review per se, it’s meant to be an analysis. It gets personal at the end. I’m not trying to bum anyone out or make anyone worry about me; I’m generally a happy person. My intention is to share why this album is so close to me, especially in those moments when I’m not.

The more avid readers of my blog will recall I recently wrote a post about La Dispute’s 2011 album Wildlife. At the end of that post, I linked to the band’s YouTube, where they had posted the first single from their newest album. I had listened to it once or twice, but only casually. I prefer to take my La Dispute albums in their entirety.

Rooms of the House by La Dispute

Rooms of the House hasn’t been out long, but I’ve given it enough thorough listens to write my thoughts on it. Sometimes these came in the middle of sleepless nights, sitting awake and listening to the album. Sometimes it was on the band’s YouTube page, where they’ve provided every song, complete with lyrics, in a seamless playlist. Once, I lay on my back during a panic attack and listened as I felt my heart rate increase and my breaths fall short for no readily apparent reason. And, of course, I gave it several listens while walking, either on the treadmill or around town.

The first thing I noticed about the album is that it’s shorter than their previous releases. Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair consists of 13 tracks totaling 52 minutes. Wildlife upped the number of tracks to 14 and clocks in at 58 minutes. Rooms of the House, on the other hand, contains only 11 tracks, and rests at 42 minutes.

At first I was worried that I might not be in for the same kind of intense roller coaster ride of a narrative the band usually puts out, but I pushed these thoughts aside. It’s not the length of a work that matters, but the impact it has on you. I wanted to be free of any preconceived notions when I listened to the album as a whole.

It’s immediately clear why this record is shorter than their past LPs. From the first second of the opening track, “HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956”, you can tell the band is much more focused, almost more frantic, like they’re dying to get their sound out and do it now.

“HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956”, the opening track of La Dispute’s Rooms of the House.

The opening track tells the story of a couple who are temporarily split up. A woman takes her son to her parents’ house in Terre Haute, Indiana, while her husband stays in Hudsonville, Michigan, until his week-long shift at the furniture mill ends and he can join them. Instead, a storm rocks both cities, knocking out the phone lines and leaving both parties unable to contact each other.

The song intensifies as its thematic storm does, sounding more frantic and chaotic as the narrative progresses. One of my favorite moments on the whole album comes when the storm has passed and the couple finally get into contact with each other, yet the song doesn’t calm down, instead escalating to new heights, and we catch a glimpse of a much more dangerous, internal storm our characters are weathering:

I remember those nights I couldn’t get through to you when
Quiet storms came, rattled the window panes
I couldn’t keep a thing the same way
When the storm blew in, and the furniture rearranged
I could see lightning there,
And a funnel cloud.
And your mother said,
“I swear I saw lightning in your eyes
When that call got through to the other side.”

—La Dispute, “HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956”

After this, we reach the calm after the storm. The song drops in volume and tempo, slowing to a crawl while vocalist Jordan Dreyer reads off the lyrics more like a list than a song, reflecting tattered thoughts, both profound and inconsequential things that cross one’s mind after an internal conflict, like leaves and branches scattered after a heavy storm: “Wires snap. Metal gets twisted. There’s the rattle of the window glass bending in. Take the kids down. Terre Haute. Coffee. Thanksgiving. Stay calm. Keep down…” While the music and the vocals drift apart and settle into discordant remnants of the song, we’re given the final line: “There are moments of collapse.”

These moments of collapse, that internal storm and separation itself serve as repeating themes on the record. I’m not sure if Rooms of the House is meant to be a concept album in the strictest sense, but there is a heavy theme: These songs all serve as rooms of a house, they all serve as pieces of a whole that can be something or nothing, depending on how they’re filled.

The next track is called “First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice” and tells the story of two people who go for a walk on a frozen lake. Our narrator is distracted by his everyday problems (“Had I cut my hair short? Had I grown my beard out long? … There’s a leak in the basement, stupid permanent estrangement, casement windows need glazing, hinges and arms need to be replaced.”). These problems disappear for a moment when the ice collapses below him, resulting in a brush with death.

“Don’t panic” I could hear you
Saying as I fell through
Blackness complete down,
Waiting until my feet touched ground.
At the bottom, they finally did
First reaction was “This is it.”
Next thought was “Just stay calm,
Kick up and save your phone.”

—La Dispute, “First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice”

Despite being one of the band’s shortest songs, “First Reactions” is one of their more vivid pieces. Imagery doesn’t always work in songs, but here it becomes personal; we hear first-hand the narrator’s plight, the everyday things still eating at him even at the bottom of a lake, the panic and the bargaining that accompany a moment of fright.

After this comes a change in pace. “Woman (in mirror)” is a quiet, slow tune, and one of the support beams that holds this metaphoric house together. The narrator begins by explaining the house: “Where a bookshelf goes, or a throw rug, how you shape any common space, and the language you make out of looks and names, all the motions of ordinary love.” The bookshelf mentioned here is a prominent symbol on the record. It’s as the first track says: “There is history in the rooms of the house.” Objects like this make up part of the history currently being laid out by our main characters.

In this song, our narrator watches his wife get dressed for a dinner party. It seems like a simple action, but the band expands it into an entire song, and not without reason. There are hints of trouble for the characters involved, but on the whole the song represents one moment.

And I watch you, your reversal
It’s an honest thing when there’s no one there.
Some days, they feel like dress rehearsals,
Some days I watch, and you don’t care.
There’s a dinner, Thanksgiving
Dress up nice, make a dish to bring
There are moments here, only yours and mine,
Tiny dots on an endless timeline.

—La Dispute, “Woman (in mirror)”

One of the song’s final lines is perhaps the most important to its narrative: “The smallest sounds leave the clearest echoes.” The song fades away soon after this, but later on in Rooms of the House, we’ll find out what it means.

“SCENES FROM HIGHWAYS 1981-2009” is a song about people driving away from their problems. This isn’t a new topic in the world of music (this song even mentions a few classics like “Born to Run” and “Running on Empty”). La Dispute takes the song down a different path than some of their predecessors; what we’re given is the story of people trying to drive away, but always returning home in the end.

“For Mayor in Splitsville” follows this by setting up jokes about how much of a pain marriage can be. Our narrator is reflecting on this while he considers his own marriage. He and his wife have just returned from their road trip, unable to drive away from their problems and ending up back home. They make promises to change their lives and their living space, but this does little to help: “But I guess in the end, we just moved furniture around.”

After this is the song “35”. Our narrator is sitting up late one night when the news comes on the television. A bridge has collapsed, cars have fallen into the river, and a rescue is underway. Our narrator enters a dreamlike state; he feels sorrow for the people involved in the accident, and by the next morning, he feels like his life is a bridge that collapsed under him, and wonders if he can still kick out the window and swim to safety.

This is followed by “Stay Happy There”. Here our narrator imagines parallel universes in which he ended up happy. He sees images of a world in which the bridge in “35” didn’t collapse, visions of him and his wife talking through their problems, living on a coast instead of the Midwest. He also imagines other, less hopeful ones: “Somewhere I’m up past dawn, until / Somewhere you live here still / Somewhere you’re already gone.” Meanwhile, all the things he and his wife have filled their house with, all of the things that carry history weigh heavily on him: “Doesn’t it seem a bit wasteful to you, to throw away all of the time we spent perfecting our love in close quarters and confines?”

Following this is another of these objects that carry history. “THE CHILD WE LOST 1963” begins and ends with a lamp, and the story in between is one of a group of young girls who come home from school one day to find their parents sitting at a table, with a shoebox full of things that would have belonged to their youngest sister, had she survived her birth. The girls are perhaps too young to understand exactly what happened, but they understand very well the weight and sadness their parents are experiencing, so heavy that both parents refuse to ever say the child’s name.

You watched while Father held her,
Said, “Some things come, but can’t stay here.”
You saw a brightness,
Like a light through your eyes closed tight,
Then she tumbled away.
From here, someplace
To remain in the nighttime shadows she made
To be an absence in Mom, a sadness hanging over her
Like some Pentecostal flame
Drifting on and off.
She was “sister,”
Only whispered.
Sometimes “her”
Or “the child we lost.”

—La Dispute, “THE CHILD WE LOST 1963”

Next is “Woman (reading)”. The title hearkens back to “Woman (in mirror)”, and this is no coincidence. In the latter, our narrator was watching his wife put makeup on in her mirror. “Woman (reading)” is set later, when the end of their marriage is all but imminent, and our narrator sits in his office struggling to write, instead watching his wife reading in the other room.

“Woman (reading)” by La Dispute.

I could probably write a blog post the entire length of this one just about this song. From the first listen, it became one of my favorite songs. I’ll only go into detail on a few of the reasons.

There’s a clear contrast between both “Woman” songs. In “(in mirror)” the titular woman is putting makeup on. She’s getting dressed up to leave. She and her husband are going to a dinner party. They appear content, but it’s only an appearance. The cracks are present, but the characters have put makeup over it. In “(reading)”, there’s no more illusion. Things didn’t work. But we’re given another tiny dot on this endless timeline, and our narrator gets a final look at his wife, not dressing up or putting makeup on, but sitting and reading. This is who she really is, and he’s trying to figure her out, knowing it’s too late. She’s aware he’s watching, and that’s where our moment ends. Everything is out in the open: No makeup, just a woman reading, and a man unable to read her.

From here the song proceeds into the future, after they part ways.

And I pause where I am for a second when I hear your name
Sometimes I think I see your face in improbable places
Do those moments replay for you?
When I’m suddenly there, and then won’t go away
When you’re sitting in your living room
Reading for the afternoon
Do you put your book down, look and try to find me there?

—La Dispute, “Woman (reading)”

Our narrator reflects on how, together, they turned the house into a home. He goes over local landmarks, like a wine stain on the couch and scratches in the floor, sometimes not remembering whether he and his wife created them, or they were already there, and seeing history in them regardless.

Earlier we were presented with the line “The smallest sounds leave the clearest echoes.” It’s possible to see “Woman (in mirror)” as the smallest sound, and “Woman (reading)” as the echo it leaves.

“Extraordinary Dinner Party” moves forward in time. It’s the morning after a snowstorm, and our narrator digs his car out of the snow and goes to work. Throughout the day he sees images of all the stories told so far, reminders of the dinner party, the bookshelf, a man driving away from his problems. History has repeated itself, and our narrator has done nothing to stop it, as he says: “Because I was afraid to change. But that’s not an excuse to stay.”

The last few seconds of the track break the fourth wall. You can hear the band begin to practice the next track, mess up, and laugh it off before starting again. It provides a small bit of respite from the otherwise heavy record, a break from the weight of the previous songs, and the next one.

“Objects in Space” closes the album. Music accompanies a spoken-word poem; there’s no singing here, only speaking. Somewhere, at some time, our narrator gathers all of these things from around his house. He spends hours looking them over, thinking of their stories, and then trying to find something to do with them, somewhere to put them. Melancholy guitars guide us through the track, providing a chord progression to serve as the chorus, while the bass and the drums keep the song nailed down, serving as a structure for the narrator to weave through. This is one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. Defeat is audible in Jordan Dreyer’s voice, the guitars drip with resignation.

Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair begins with silence, an amp being turned on, and then a slow guitar progression. It ends with a similar song fading away. Wildlife begins with a distant, twangy guitar playing a tune for a while until the rest of the instruments come in, and ends with vocals fading away while the guitar drones on a few more times.

In contrast, Rooms of the House began with guitars and vocals in the first second of the record. I mentioned before that it’s shorter and more focused, and “Objects in Space” is no exception. We’re given our story, and then the record ends as promptly as it began. In terms of sound, there’s no lingering, no echo; just a tiny dot on an endless timeline.

My head is another story. The music bounces back and forth across my mind, the lyrics echo in the everyday things I see that remind me of my own tiny dots: My guitar on the wall, still missing its A string. The hat I made and never leave home without. Tickets to a concert I never went to. A letter someone wrote me (and I never wrote back). Figurines line every shelf of my desk, some of them found, some bought, some given as gifts, some I don’t like looking at. I have shelves full of books I’ve read, and boxes full of books I’ve written.

I’ve never lost someone to a stillbirth or a bridge collapse. I’ve never sat and watched a woman I love put makeup on, or sit and read. I’ve never driven down the highway to forget my problems, only to find them waiting on the porch when I get back. These are things I’ve experienced only vicariously through Rooms of the House, but there’s something cathartic about that. I wouldn’t know for sure, but maybe the guys in La Dispute have never walked home at four in the morning with a panic attack after telling someone you don’t love them. Maybe they’ve never stayed in a hotel after losing a house, then heard someone die in the next room over. Maybe they’ve never had nerve damage that calls into question whether they’ll ever write another word, let alone a song or a story or a book. I haven’t experienced what they have, and maybe they haven’t experienced what I have, but we all have our echoes to live with, and sometimes it’s nice to share them, to create a mutual understanding with another person. Sometimes it’s nice to listen to someone else’s echoes, and let them drown out your own for a while.

nowListening: Wildlife by La Dispute

Recently I re-visited one of my favorite albums, Wildlife by La Dispute. Normally I walk on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes a day, but Wildlife clocks in at almost an hour. I had planned to stop at my normal time, but couldn’t bring myself to do it, and went the whole hour. This isn’t one you listen to just part of, it’s an album you commit to.

All lyrics and songs by La Dispute, not me. Obviously.

The interpretation of these songs as presented in this post, however, is mine. At no point should you feel like it’s the correct or only one; that’s the beauty of music.

I first heard of La Dispute in the summer of 2011, when the band released their entire discography for free on the internet. I happened to be browsing a post over at AbsolutePunk, and one of my friends on that site couldn’t recommend the band enough.

I downloaded their discography and gave a few of the releases (one LP and about seven EPs ranging from two to eight tracks) a try. I was at first put off by the vocals; at first listen, Jordan Dreyer’s voice can be intimidating, if not raw.

Even then, there were a few songs I could really get into. I think “The Surgeon and the Scientist” was first among them. One day, with my iPod on shuffle, a little tune called “Such Small Hands” came up. The first thing to catch my hear was the haunting, disembodied guitar intro. Then the vocals come in, and what hooked me were the lyrics.

I thought I heard the door open, oh
No, thought I heard the door open but I only heard it close
I thought I heard a plane crashing
Now I think it was your passion snapping

La Dispute, “Such Small Hands”

As it turns out, “Such Small Hands” is the first track on their first album, exhaustively titled Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair. That provided the foot in the door for the rest of the record. One listen to the following track, “Said the King to the River”, and I was sold on La Dispute.

La Dispute is a writer’s band. Vocalist Jordan Dreyer had reportedly never participated in music before being asked to join; he wrote short stories and poems instead. Literature is prominent in all of the band’s music. Two of their EPs (Hear, Hear. and Hear, Hear II) consist entirely of the band playing along to Dreyer reading, singing, and screaming famous poems, such as Poe’s “Annabel Lee”.

A fan-made lyric video for the song “Andria”, showcasing a few of the band’s common styles: A blend of spoken-word poetry and fast-paced punk vocals, Jordan Dreyer’s raw, honest-to-God voice and absolute control over his range, the bass coming in to foreshadow the intensity the song is about to escalate to, the lead guitar part forming a sort of “dueling guitars” melody to compliment the lead vocals. While it appears on their first release, this song is referenced many times on the album Wildlife.

For a lot of bands, you can hear the bands that influenced them in their music. With La Dispute, the keen listener will hear all of the writers that influenced the band instead.

It didn’t take long for La Dispute to cement themselves as one of my favorite bands. In October of 2011, they released a new album called Wildlife. I bought it immediately, and took my iPod out to the back deck to listen to it on the porch swing. It seemed fitting: That’s where I go to read books, and Wildlife is audible literature.

Still, I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to hear.

Wildlife by La Dispute

Wildlife is a concept album. Each song has a clear and complete narrative, but also fits into a larger one (think chapters in a book). The album opens with one of four letters the narrator is writing. The song is called “a Departure” and sets the stage for the story about to unfold.

Night fell on me writing this, and I ran out of paper
So I crossed the name out at the top of the page
Not sure why I’m even writing this, but I guess it feels right,
It sort of feels like I have to, like an exorcism.

I guess that makes me sound crazy, but that’s all right.
Lately I feel like I might be, not that I’ve heard any voices or anything
Just like that everyday kind, where you forget things you shouldn’t,
And you think too much about death.

La Dispute, “a Departure”

The album can be broken down into parts: A letter, three songs, the next letter, three songs, etc. Following “a Departure” is the fast-paced “Harder Harmonies”, which tells the story of an extraordinary piano player whose music is overtaken by the tones of the nearby city.

In all of the songs, it’s difficult to tell how much is literal vs. metaphorical, and how many of the stories are true. I’ve heard that most of them are things experienced by the band members or people they know. Part of me wants to never find out; not knowing contributes to the magnitude Wildlife carries. I can only hope these things didn’t all happen to the same person, but in terms of the story, I’ll say they do.

“Harder Harmonies” escalates into a sense of frustration conveyed not just by the lyrics, but by the music. The song ends on a message anybody could sympathize with: “There’s a melody in everything, I’m trying to find a harmony, but nothing seems to work, nothing seems to fit.” This is a recurring theme: Nothing seems to fit, and I think that’s where the story really picks up.

“St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues” comes next. It tells the story of a church our narrator passes by every day, the once-beloved church now abandoned and falling apart, and the narrator thinks the same thing of some kind of relationship in his life, possibly the loss of his own faith.

Ten years now standing vacant
Ten years on empty, maybe more.
Once held the faith of hundreds,
Soon one more cell phone store.
For years they gathered here
Inside the building, sound and true
To sing their praises to a God that gave them hope
To carry on, to carry through.

La Dispute, “St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues”

After this comes “Edit Your Hometown”, which sounds like a link you’d click on facebook, and that’s probably the point. The song tells the story of a young man who claimed his city with his friends, spending nights together and having fun, but as the years went on, his friends all moved away and carried on with their lives, leaving the narrator feeling alone with an empty city.

After this is our next letter, this one titled “a Letter”. The narrator looks at all of his anger and frustration and begins to wonder if it comes from within, and that maybe things aren’t working because he isn’t really trying to make them work.

Next up is a song in two parts: “Safer in the Forest/Love Song for Poor Michigan”. Both songs occupy the same track and are loosely related, but you can tell where one ends and one begins. “Safer in the Forest” is a relatively quiet, droning tune carried by guitars that never stop but don’t quite repeat themselves, moving up and down in tune with the vocals, until the song explodes into “Love Song for Poor Michigan”, a song about how a bad economy can break people down. In these you can hear references to previous songs; “Safer in the Forest” mentions the city’s song first suggested in “Harder Harmonies” as well as the desire to leave found in “Edit Your Hometown”, while “Love Song for Poor Michigan” hearkens all the way back to the song “Andria” off the band’s previous album, with the line “I will hold these old streets safely in my head, like her”. If you choose to interpret it as such, Wildlife can be seen as a sort of sequel concept to Somewhere at the Bottom… as this isn’t the only reference you’ll find to the band’s previous work.

“The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit” carries tones of trying to forget pain through things like drugs and sex, but reflecting on how these releases are only temporary.

After this we get our third letter, titled “a Poem”. The narrator reflects on how the writing isn’t helping: “I had a reason for the writing, but trying to exorcise my demons didn’t work.” The narrator instead writes a poem to summarize his feelings and actions. This is reflected in the song as it slows to a crawl and transitions into a spoken-word poem.

The worry, the wonder, the shortness of days
The replacement for purpose
The things swept away
By the worry, the wonder, my slightness of frame
The replacements for feeling,
The casual lay.
And the worst of the wildlife wears clothes and can pray
And they worry and wonder for three meals a day.
Only death unimpeded, not slowing its pace
Brings that petty old worry and wonder away.

La Dispute, “a Poem”

After this comes a suite of three songs that I find hard to listen to, but I mean that in the best possible way. The next three songs are, without contest, the most emotionally exhausting suite of music I can think of. By the time I was through the first of them, “King Park”, I had stopped swinging on my porch swing, my shaking hands were pressed against my mouth. If you can think of a movie that brought you to the edge of your seat in anticipation, not in the exaggerated, metaphorical sense, but one of those moments that actually made you drop everything and just sit down and pay attention, this song is the audible equivalent of that. If you listen to nothing else from this record, listen to these three songs, in order, please. Something like this doesn’t come along often in any medium.

I don’t want to spoil the effect for you, so I’ll try not to go into too much detail about these three. Just grab a pair of headphones, sit down in a dark room, and listen. You might want to bring a box of tissues and find some ear bleach for when it’s over. These aren’t songs you just listen to; you’re probably going to want something to help you calm down afterward. I guess this all comes off as pretentious or exaggerated, but that’s not my intention. I’m serious, things are going to get intense.

“King Park” opens with a shooting: “Another shooting on the southeast side, this a drive-by, mid-day…Not far from the park, about a block from where the other shooting was last month. Or was it last week?”

The first two stanzas of the song are told in an omniscient, procedural tone, just the basic facts. There’s been a shooting, not far from where another one was recently. At the end of the second stanza, we hit the human element: “The target: a rival, but they didn’t hit the target this time. They hit a kid we think had nothing to do with it.”

From there, our narrator becomes a spectre, a spirit transcending time and space in an attempt to find a reason for the violence. His journey takes him “High and high up over King Park”, back through time, where he can visit the victims before they died, just “playing games and doing homework”, and visit their families, see their lives.

I want to write it all down, so I can always remember
If you could see it up close, how could you ever forget?
How senseless death, how precious life,
I want to be there when the bullet hit.

La Dispute, “King Park”

After this, our narrator moves forward in time to find the shooter, and from there an already dark and heavy song becomes almost too much to bear. I won’t even say anything about it. Just go listen for yourself.

After this is a song called “Edward Benz, 27 Times”. This one starts off on a much lighter tone than where “King Park” ends, and for that I’m grateful. We open with an old man, the titular Edward Benz, entering the narrator’s store and asking him to repair a window on a door.

Things take a drastic tone throughout the song as Ed tells our narrator his story. The song bounces back and forth between the narrator in the past, standing on Ed’s porch and listening to his story, and our narrator as he is currently, feeling alone and desperate and in pain. Slowly, our narrator realizes he’s writing a parallel to Ed’s story, so he revisits it in his head for comparison.

The underlying tone seems to be that the narrator finds the two situations incomparable: What the narrator is going through (suggested to be a breakup) is shallow compared to what Ed experienced, but that fact brings our narrator no solace; his pain is still pain.

And I sit in my apartment,
I’m getting no answers.
I’m finding no peace, no release from the anger.
I’ll leave it at arms length,
I’m keeping my distance
From hotels and Jesus and blood on the carpet.
I’m stomaching nothing,
I’m reaching for no one,
I’m leaving this city and I’m headed out to nowhere.

La Dispute, “Edward Benz, 27 Times”

Our trio rounds out with the song “I See Everything”. In this one, our narrator recalls a day in his junior year of high school, when he walks into the classroom a little late and finds a heavy atmosphere in the room. He takes his seat and finds his teacher handing out photocopies of a journal she kept in the 80’s, shortly after her seven-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. Following the introduction, the middle of the song is presented directly as these journal entries, and the end finds our narrator alone many years later, reflecting on the teacher and her son, as well as his own life.

July 9
There’s a suffering when I look in his eyes
He’s been through so much.
We’ve all been through so much, but
What incredible resolve our little boy shows
Only seven, standing face-to-face with death
He said it’s easy to find people who have suffered worse than him
“Like Jesus suffered worse than anyone,”
He told me last night, when God abandoned him.

La Dispute, “I See Everything”

Once this suite ends, we’re given our last letter, “a Broken Jar”.  Our narrator has grown tired of writing down these stories in attempt to cope, they aren’t helping. In his frustration he turns over a table and a breaks a jar, which he then attempts to repair, but reflects that no matter what he does, the cracks will still be visible, and some things can’t be fully repaired.

After this letter, we’re presented with two songs to serve as falling action. The first is “all our bruised bodies and the whole heart shrinks”. Maybe I look too much into it, but I think the fact that the title is improperly formatted (using all lowercase letters) is a reflection of how the writer has become tired and apathetic, but he hasn’t given up, hence the title being so long.

In this song, our writer comes to a realization. He’s been writing down the suffering of other people to cope with his own, and rather than comparing them, he begins to collect them, to realize that other people have made it through their pain, so it’s possible that he will, too.

Tell me what your worst fears are
I bet they look a lot like mine
Tell me what you think about when you can’t fall asleep at night.
Tell me that you’re struggling, tell me that you’re scared
No, tell me that you’re terrified of life
Tell me that it’s difficult to not think of death sometimes.
Tell me how you lost, tell me how he left, tell me how she left
Tell me how you lost everything that you had,
Tell me it ain’t ever coming back.
Tell me about God, tell me about love,
Tell me that it’s all of the above.
Say you think of everything in fear,
I bet you’re not the only one who does.

La Dispute, “all our bruised bodies and the whole heart shrinks”

The album’s final track is “You and I in Unison”. In this song, the writer finally tells his own story, adding his own pain to the pages he’s been writing, and leaves them with the feeling that even if we suffer, we all suffer together. Our narrator isn’t alone and never has beenhe has a stack of pages that prove it.

There’s a certain feeling you get when you finish reading a good book, and Wildlife is probably the only album that’s ever given me that feeling. It’s painful but hopeful, it’s heavy but beautiful.

La Dispute is releasing their third album in March 2014, called Rooms of the House. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope I love it half as much as I love Wildlife.

La Dispute provides nearly all of their music for listening on their website here:

If you enjoy the music, please consider supporting the band. Pre-orders of their upcoming album Rooms of the House support various charities. More information can be found on the album’s pre-order pages here: