Perhaps no other rock band can write so frankly and so accurately about the American tragedy than the Drive-by Truckers. After a three-year absence where lead songwriters Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood suffered from a severe case of writer’s block, the DBT’s lock, stock and two smoking barrels are back taking aim at the good ol’ US of A and its perilous journey.
Cooley and Patterson simply do not mince words. In the sludgy, funk-grunge driven “Heroin Again” they pose the question, “why?” and try slapping some sense into a new generation of users condemned to their brain orgasms.
“21st Century USA” recounts a drive though any beat-up town filled with fast food joints and crappy retail outlets where salvation is finally found in a “good-time bar to get your bad swerve on.” But this isn’t a game of pitching us against them, it’s a cultural demise that has everyone trapped in its dead-soul, commercialized landslide.
Although sometimes the line is clearly drawn and blame comes tumbling through. “Thoughts and Prayers” echoes politicians’ overused expression after another senseless outburst of domestic gun violence takes its lethal toll. In protest with that empty do-nothing rhetoric comes the chorus, “You can stick it up your ass, with your useless thoughts and prayers.”
The Unraveling is the Drive-by Truckers’ rebel yell — angry, fierce and all too real.