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A Deeper Understanding Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 149 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth full-length release for the Philadelphia indie rock band led by Adam Granduciel is its first on the Atlantic label.
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Top Track

Holding On
Once I was alive and I could feel I was holding on to you And I redefined the way I looked at dawn inside of you I went down a crooked highway I... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Aug 25, 2017
    91
    With much higher expectations weighing on the band, it’s produced a successor that shines up and builds on that breakthrough in every way.
  2. Aug 25, 2017
    87
    It’s the impossible sweep and grandeur of the music that tells the real story, of how a rush of sound can take us somewhere we can’t explain.
  3. 83
    Instead of trying to recreate the heightened catharsis of Lost In The Dream, A Deeper Understanding suggests a viable path forward from that turning point, a journey blown out to widescreen proportions that breathes new life into a familiar sound.
  4. Uncut
    Aug 1, 2017
    80
    The results is some of the richest, most compelling and least lonely-sounding music of Granduciel's career. [Sep 2017, p.24]
  5. Aug 21, 2017
    80
    A Deeper Understanding represents another step forward for the War on Drugs, and is among their most ambitious, consistent, and emotionally searing works yet.
  6. Aug 24, 2017
    70
    A big, bold sound isn't a bad thing, but the fact that this album is a little less engrossing than the band's past efforts shows that the most interesting thing about the War on Drugs' music isn't the way they channel their rock influences, but the way they subvert them.
  7. Mojo
    Aug 1, 2017
    60
    A Deeper Understanding is exhilarating in places, but perhaps inevitably, give n it's long and convoluted gestation, it can at times feel like it's trying too hard. [Sep 2017, p.90]

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Sep 5, 2017
    10
    I have never been listening TWOD before and came across this album by pure accident. After the first playthrough, ordered tickets for theirI have never been listening TWOD before and came across this album by pure accident. After the first playthrough, ordered tickets for their show in Berlin. That says it all, great great great album! Expand
  2. Oct 16, 2017
    10
    One of the best albums of the year, for me the pulse of this one just demands for many repeated listens, each more satisfying than the next.One of the best albums of the year, for me the pulse of this one just demands for many repeated listens, each more satisfying than the next. Feels more intimate than "Lost in the Dream" but with all of that record's charms. "Pain" may be my favorite TWOD song. Expand
  3. Mar 17, 2018
    10
    Adam Granduciel’s obsession with studio perfection brings such fulfillment to the arrangements of A Deeper Understanding that even though someAdam Granduciel’s obsession with studio perfection brings such fulfillment to the arrangements of A Deeper Understanding that even though some passages in songs like Strangest Thing might seem chaotic, the absolute harmony is astounding and brings me so much joy. Expand
  4. Sep 5, 2017
    9
    I'd been trying to find some real music for the last couple of months until I heard this. It's what I've been looking for - engrossingI'd been trying to find some real music for the last couple of months until I heard this. It's what I've been looking for - engrossing melodies, driving rhythms and a sense that it lives both in today and the past. Like the best music it carries me away to new places and opens my imagination to the possibility of sound. Expand
  5. Sep 12, 2017
    8
    The combination of fearlessness to sound simple and inventiveness in musical structure was incredibly rewarding, with the many bold melodicThe combination of fearlessness to sound simple and inventiveness in musical structure was incredibly rewarding, with the many bold melodic formations, creative stretched harmonic loops, and thoughtful, gorgeous builds in sound delivering some timeless music and one of the year’s best albums. My Score: 147/180 (Great) = 8.2/10 Expand
  6. Mar 26, 2018
    8
    2014 was by no means a vintage year for albums but at the same time there were a few notable releases. The War on Drugs released one of these2014 was by no means a vintage year for albums but at the same time there were a few notable releases. The War on Drugs released one of these in "Lost in the Dream". An irresistable beast mixing Dylan influences with a type of slow highway rock. 2017 saw them follow that album up in some style with "A Deeper Understanding". Like its predecessor, it sounds both modern and from a time long gone. You could describe it as heartland rock, a genre that arguably peaked in the 80s and there is a definite 80's feel to this but I say this as a compliment. An album like "A Deeper Understanding" is relatively rare these days. You don't get too many 10 track records clocking in over the hour. It takes a committed listener to immerse themselves in a collection of songs averaging over 6 minutes but committment brings its own rewards and this is true on this album. It takes a while to truly enjoy but well worth the time investment. Listen to it through the best speakers/headphones you have as it is one of those records where it makes a big difference. Highlights for me are "Up All Night", "Strangest Thing" and "Nothing to Find" but this is an album equally more than the sum of its parts. Expand
  7. Aug 26, 2017
    8
    Really spacey album by the War on Drugs. If you like Lost in the Dream, this is much more of the same and you'll probably enjoy it. That beingReally spacey album by the War on Drugs. If you like Lost in the Dream, this is much more of the same and you'll probably enjoy it. That being said it is a slower burn and some songs can get pretty loud and hectic with the guitar at points, more so than any of their previous albums. Still a great listen and definitely one of the top albums of the summer. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews

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