The Dears matter to me.
The reason for this is quite simple. I feel that I’ve grown (older) with the band. I was lucky to hear them for the first time when I used to work in a record store (cliché, I know) and one of my co-workers (thank you Nick!) started playing the album “No Cities Left”. Before the second song was even finished “Who Are You, Defenders of the Universe” I was in love. No, that is not an exaggeration that is the feeling I had. The voice, the music, the lyrics, the arrangements. Everything got under my skin. I heard what Murray was singing and I believed him. I thought he was singing about me. I now it sounds childish, but when music makes you feel something more it becomes magical and that is exactly what The Dears became to me.
I was lucky enough to see them in a Sold Out show at the El Rey Theatre in 2005. At the same show Morrissey was there to see them perform, I know this because I saw him and I waved at him and he waved back. Yes, that was a very special moment for me as well. A year later I was at their 2 pm set at Coachella, that set I’m somewhat afraid to admit was not one of their very best. They deserved a different slot, maybe something later in the evening. But that’s the life in the festival circuits. After a few months their album “Gang Of Losers” was released and to my taste it did not disappoint. Granted this was the last time I would hear them make music like that.
Their next album “Missiles” saw them moving in a different direction, moving away from their ‘The Smith’s-like” arrangements and more into a brave new direction that didn’t necessarily connect with me immediately, or after multiple listens. On this tour I saw them open up for “The Secret Machines” in their Belly-up show in Solana Beach, (that show became even more special after the passing of Benjamin Curtis). This doesn’t mean is a bad album, nor does it mean that it’s their most disliked, this just means that just like any relationship I had to accept this album as their thing and move on and wait for their follow-up. And waiting I did. 3 years later they release “Degeneration Street”. And again the almost the same story as with their prior album. I heard it. I wanted to like it more that I actually did. I wanted to feel something new again. Maybe I was asking for too much, maybe I didn’t know what I was looking for at that time. Maybe what I was going through was not what they were singing about. Maybe. I don’t know. I needed to see them live again. I needed to hear Murray’s voice live and loud. I didn’t. A few more years had to pass before news broke that the band was releasing “Times Infinity, Vol 1”. At first glance I thought it was the band toying with my emotion hinting at a continuous collection of songs that manage to exist in the same breath but not in the same album at the same time, but that are connected. The album came out and it was like falling in love again. It had some what I think are some of the best songs that they have ever recorded. Seeing them live at the Casbah was an amazing experience, the set had a perfect balance of old and new songs, it did so to the point where you felt that all the songs could’ve been from the same album, within the same breath.
Now they ‘ve announced that “Times Infinity, Vol 2” is coming out and a tour right behind that LP to promote it. These are the songs that they’ve released so far on Spotify:
All The Hail Marys
I’m Sorry That I Wished You Dead
Taking It To The Grave
Needless to say, if they come within driving distance to you, then you should make an effort to go to at least two of their shows. They truly are wonderful live and to be able to hear Murray’s voice now, 20 years later and still making music and having an impact in the music world, is truly a spectacle to be able to witness.
After being a fan of the band for more than a decade. After having their music become a part of my life soundtrack. After being able to witness the evolution of such a band. After all of this and still being able to stand tall. After this and still being able to deliver songs that can be meaningful, it’s such a privilege to be in the audience listening in.
I just want to say thank you to The Dears for being there more than 10 years ago. Thank you for making those albums that in a way saved me.