Will Toledo is rightfully gaining significant attention for his latest album as Car Seat Headrest, Teens of Denial. The album is indie rock at its best, and one of the finer moments (on an album full of fine moments) is a track that’s been kicking around for some time now. A video of Toledo performing “(Joe Gets Kicked out of School for Using) Drugs with Friends [But Says This Isn’t a Problem]” solo appeared on Vimeo on September 27, 2014, and the long-gestating track is as fine-tuned as it is jagged and raw. “I get to know myself every weekend / And I’m weak,” memorably begins Toledo before diving headfirst into a story of drugs and dependence. This song, like many others on Denial, is a showcase for Toledo’s essential lyricism, pointed and specific. The way he describes a bad psychedelic trip is so singular it becomes universal. And when he gets to the end of the song, Toledo wraps himself in a circular logic, repeatedly singing “Drugs are better, drugs are better with / Friends are better, friends are better with / Drugs are better…” until it becomes impossible to tell which makes the other “better.” But as foggy as his mind is, we hear him loud and clear.
Teens of Denial is out now. Stream the album via Apple Music.