“Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?”, Deerhunter’s seventh studio album, is a bright, fun reminder at how bleak life is. Uplifting sounds and crisp lyrics shine through well constructed layers of foul and rotten truths, leaving behind an honest portrait of the decaying modern world.
The album opens with its finest track, “Death in Midsummer”; a four and a half minute homage to the countless people who have slaved and suffered in society. The albums lead single comes as a reminder that life and death are so vastly different, yet interchangeable at a whim. The song’s final line “Walk around and you'll see what's faded” squeals to current political affairs (walls and shutdowns, and the like). The song is Deerhunter’s way of paying respect to all the people trapped in political crossfire, both past and present.
In fact, the whole album revolves around the idea of being trapped. We are indeed trapped inside the cage of those we (the system) elected. On “Futurism”, Cox reminds us that said cage is what we make it. Maybe the only reason everything has not disappeared is because people have become numb: “If you decorate it, it goes by faster”.
“What Happens to People?” comes as a continuation of this idea. In this hopeless existence, people simply “fade out of view”. Cox warns that living in this horrid world will be the demise of emotions. Prisoners to their duties, and unable to dream, people will lose touch with what makes them alive. Victims of track one all come from track five.
The album is so heavily concentrated with the realism of hopelessness and despair. “No One’s Sleeping”, “Element”, and “Plains” are all tributes in one way or another. “No One’s Sleeping” is a requiem to Jo Cox, the British Politician who was murdered by a man of Neo-Nazi ideologies with a history of mental illness. “Element” is presented as a “elegy for ecology”, which dedicates it’s time endearing the elements.
“Do you go?”
“Plains is a tribute to James Dean, and his final film “Giant”. The song is a melancholy memoir to a film that was set where the album was recorded: Maria, Texas. It comes as the album begins to wind down, acknowledging the sadness of James Dean’s final stand.
The rest of the album is dedicated to instruments and interludes. An interlude like “Greenpoint Gothic” dedicates itself to the synthesizer and drums, but seems to conflict with the albums theme of hopeless pessimism. “Tarnug”, which translates to camouflage in German, literally hides within the album and is a brooding gem which provokes many emotions, particularly sadness.
The album comes and goes in less than forty minutes, but through it’s ten track run it does not fail to disappoint. It proves once again that Deerhunter still have their magic touch when it comes to illuminating emotions that sometimes hide in plain sight. The whole album serves as a bleak reminder of life’s resilient darkness. The only form of therapy being the albums final song, “Nocturne”, a six minute travesty which provides momentary relief from today’s political bullshit, for lack of a better term.
May this solemn, hopeless propaganda live on as a constant reminder that trouble is everywhere. There’s so much suffering in this world that everything should have already disappeared by this point. Thank you Deerhunter for this dark, bleak reminder of how hopeless things are. This writer, for one, never could have imagined sorrow as being this fun.