‘We Used to Vacation’ by Cold War Kids
From the album Robbers & Cowards (2006)
Today sees the UK release of Cold War Kids’ fifth studio album (just under five months after its release in the US, a fact that NME couldn’t be bothered to explain) and to celebrate, this week’s Track of the Week is the first song from their first album.
‘We Used to Vacation’ is a brooding, piano-led reflection of the ruinous effect of alcohol on a relationship. As the title suggests, the protagonist of the song has taken a happy relationship and reduced it to shreds through broken promises and the fact that ‘it sounds so soothing to mix a drink and sink into oblivion’.
There are a lot of very good songwriters in music and Nathan Willett is no exception, taking cues from Bob Dylan (from whom ‘We Used to Vacation’ borrows), Tom Waits and, more contemporaneously, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady who I often tell people is one of my favourite contemporary songwriters. There’s a very fine line between trying to write a convincing narrative that immerses the listener in a story and making a total fuck of it, or making it so boring that you are continually derided for it. I’m looking at you Guy Garvey. Luckily for you, dear reader, you can always rely on Cold War Kids to tell you a convincing, gritty story set in the mires of Americana.