I Don't Want To Know

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix

It's been almost an entire year since I last listened to this album. On the cusp of summer, "Lisztomania" and "1901" were the perfect summer-welcoming songs. I didn't care to know the lyrics, I didn't care to analyze why I was listening to the album so much, it was just playing morning day and night. At some point towards the middle of the summer, I finally exhausted the album, and put it to bed.

At the time, I honestly had not put much thought behind the album. I held a certain amount of disdain for people that relied too heavily on lyrics to enjoy music (I often found myself snottily saying "There's more to it than just the words!"). It wasn't until months later I realized the Wolfgang Amadeus was a reference to the Wolfgang Amadeus Beethoven. When I had listened to it before, I had focused on its pop accessibility, I had focused on its clean hi-hats and slick guitars. My assumption that there was "more to it" than the lyrics had strangled the meaning from the album.

Listening to the album again a year later is proving to be difficult. I can't help but feel sad; comparing where I was a year ago to where I am today, and it just doesn't make any sense to me.

The subject of time is the predominant theme in the album, and the band explores this very thoroughly. The opener "LIsztomania" begins with Mars singing "These days it comes and goes", describing the end of a relationship. In "1901" he asserts that the "past and present they don't matter", elaborating in Fences that what was "once remembered now forgotten". "Love Like A Sunset", the album's 8 minute center, simply asks "When did we start the end?" "Rome" parallels the collapse of an empire to the end of a relationship ("2000 years remain in a trash can"), as Mars explains in "Countdown" that "true and everlasting, it didn't last that long." The band closes the album with "Armistice", summing the relationship between timelessness and love with the single line "for lovers in a rush/for lovers always."

The beauty of the album comes from its disjointed and often cryptic lyrics. The album sacrifices lucidity to more perfectly capture the emotion of looking back, using perfect phrases and words to capture the feeling but not necessarily the thought.

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