I don’t care what people say; I think artists make their best work when they are going through some type of struggle. Apprehension, despondency and depression are symptoms of a root cause but also tend to be the catalyst for good, great and sometimes timeless art. I’m not going to list off the albums, novels and paintings that were done by artists who weren’t exactly content because I think most people know a bunch already but one you may not know is the release Departure by Troy Petty.
Departure is an EP that manages to get the balance between strife, melancholy and hope right. Petty’s music is a timestamp to the struggles and changes he was going through and there is genuine honesty throughout that can’t be manufactured.
U2 and Arcade Fire are bands that tend to make music that is grand, hopeful and motivational. I would argue that Funeral by Arcade Fire is more substantial than anything U2 has released in the last ten years. The reason being is that when Funeral was released the band hadn’t broke yet, some of the bands family members died prior to recording and the band was transitioning from kids to adults while U2 were a bunch of rich, middle-aged men who were living legends. You can hear those authentic emotions throughout Funeral and I think everyone did as well which is why they have had so much success since then. Departure to my ears has a lot more similarities to Funeral in a number of ways and I think that it is apparent on the first song and highlight “All Ghosts.”
“All Ghosts” has this forward moving cathartic momentum that gives you a sense of overcoming the past and embracing the present and future. The energy doesn’t need to be fast. It slowly builds and gives you time to reflect. Petty’s lyrics reinforce the music. He sings, “I disguised you with the fear in my rearview I’m not glued to the past but that voice on my right told me that all ghosts fear to fly.”
Petty continues with “Unfinished” which sounds similar to The National while “Motor Mind” revolves around a buzzing mind that doesn’t know how to shut off. Petty closes with the title track, which was a great way to end the EP. The song climaxes as he repeats the lyrics, “The world is calling you.”
One thing that is undisputable about human beings is that we can persevere and even flourish when faced with adversity. In a nutshell that is the trait that Petty manages to eloquently capture on Departure.
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