Cold War Kids return ‘home’

By Managing Editor


Cold War Kids, the Long Beach, California, band most widely known for its 2006 full-length debut Robbers & Cowards, released its latest album Hold My Home, Oct. 21. 

Long-time fans of the Kids hold tightly to the 2006 album’s fan-favorite “Hang Me Up to Dry,” and other hits including “Hospital Beds” and “We Used to Vacation.” But many of those long-term fans are expressing disappointment in the much anticipated Hold My Home, claiming it is lackluster and pales in comparison to the intensity found on earlier albums. 

After the music video for the album’s lead single “All This Could Be Yours” was released on Aug. 26, distraught fans—the same fans who expected the video to kick off what they hoped would be an album similar to the band’s debut nearly 10 years ago—criticized the song and the accompanying video, saying the video was reminiscent of a Calvin Klein advertisement, with its forcefully chic aesthetic appearing more similar to a commercial than a music video. 

The single has also been compared to mainstream music among the likes of U2’s Songs of Innocence, with upset listeners deciding that Hold My Home sounds over-produced and too polished. 

As someone who loves the raw sounds of early hits like “Hang Me Up to Dry,” it is a fair assessment that the Oct. 21 release sounds a little too pretty and polished for long-time fans to embrace it, leaning more toward a pop album than that of an indie rock band. 

While it seems that most who viewed the “All This Could Be Yours” music video completely missed the empowering undertones the band meant for the song to convey, the overall message is undermined by how unfamiliar the song sounds as a whole when compared to previously celebrated releases. 

Despite the criticism from fans and receiving many negative reviews, the album is not without its successes. 

Cold War Kids take the road often traveled on “First,” analyzing the pitfalls of romantic relationships, but doing so with equally catchy and honest lyrics: “First you get hurt/ then you feel sorry/ First you get close/ then you get buried.” 

“Go Quietly” seems to be the newest fan favorite, which isn’t a surprising consensus as the song lends itself to earlier releases like those on Robbers & Cowards much more than any of the other songs on the newly released album. 

Vocalist Nathan Willett truly flaunts his vocal range and ability for the first time in the song, and the band as a whole finally sounds comfortable, cohesive and passionate amidst a group of songs that mostly feel like the band is striving to be something it just isn’t—something the band’s listeners are not seeking out either. 

Hold My Home brings another surprise in “Harold Bloom,” which serves as a shout out to the literary critic and Yale University professor of the same name.

The thought-provoking song happens to be one of the album’s few hidden gems, slowing down the pace of the album while simultaneously increasing its emotional intensity. 

Those fans who are too weary to warrant the album a listen at all are not completely irrational.

The feeling of disappointment one feels when a beloved band’s sound changes is arguably understood on a universal scale, and is something that must be taken in stride. 

As hard as it can be to adapt to change, true fans of the Kids may have to accept that the sound off Robbers & Cowards may have been a fluke, as none of the band’s releases following its 2006 debut have quite hit the mark since.

However, Hold My Home does not stray too far for long-time fans to enjoy its bright spots, and there are certainly enough standout songs to make it a worthwhile listen. 

Long-time fans may be uncomfortable with the band’s evolution away from its debut sound, but the latest album seems to be grabbing the attention of new fans, reaching a broader audience of listeners and prolonging the band’s livelihood.