With his 12th studio album, ken, Dan Bejar adds another dense, enigmatic chapter to the Destroyer legacy. In typical fashion he chronicles the journey in such a way that blends the familiar with the abstract. He takes a fundamental emotion and tailors it in such a way that shatters traditional values. At times, however, his point of view can read as superfluous; a commonplace idea is buried under a mountain of philosophy, which can be tedious and somewhat transparent.

Destroyer is able to reconcile the inconsistencies by doing what they do best, which is patchwork a collage of sounds that obscure genres. Where Bejar fails, the band more than makes up for with a soundscape that captures the essence and mood of his ideas; engaging the senses on multiple levels. With the proper lighting, Bejar is able to shine in ways that make ken a provocative listen from beginning to end.

Sky’s Grey

Dense and expansive, a sonic mural that blends acoustic and electronic elements into one. The city is burning and the rain from above is doing little to quench the fire. A melancholy mood spills into every corner, creating a brooding atmosphere that is both dark and perilous. But just as it is about to get out of hand a harmonious guitar lick cuts in providing a welcome respite from the apocalypse: [LISTEN]

In the Morning

The thrashing guitar and feathery synth create a sensation that is tantamount to shrapnel falling from the sky in slow motion. The scene is whimsical, but not indulgent. There is a fleeting sense of self that permeates through the chaos, a destruction that looks at hindsight as 20/20. The night is wild and decadent, but the morning brings sobriety; a fresh lens to witness the smokey carnage.

Tinseltown Swimming in Blood

Hollywood is swimming in blood, and still the reels keep coming. It’s entertainment, it’s madness, it’s the end of the world on a movie screen. He’s in a dream world and it’s as cold as the arctic. It’s not the temperature he’s lamenting over, but the aloofness of the people. It stretches far and wide, the influence of such a culture reaching every corner of the globe. A quiet pandemic: [LISTEN]

Cover from the Sun

Quick driving melodies push the action towards a giant heap of unresolved emotion. An incident had occurred, but instead of fessing up and facing the music the perp runs for the shadows with their tail tucked between their legs. The lack of accountability is sending him into a tizzy, and reminiscing over it is only making him more angry. Lucky for him, he only briefly indulges in the memory: [LISTEN]

Saw You at the Hospital

A brief trip to the hospital leaves a strong and lasting impression. The person he’s visiting is out of their mind and completely disheveled, and he’s unsure what to make of it. After a moment of uncertainty he skips on over to the Palace Hotel where he describes an eerily similar sensation. Crazies are all around, some are in hospital gowns while others are in elegant robes.

A Light Travels Down the Catwalk

The privileged wrestling with guilt; a transparent way to exorcise demons. His view of the catwalk is leaving him sour, and his conscious is getting the best of him. The lights are blinding in one sense and illuminating in another; he’s describing the oblivious nature of the glitterati, and it’s sobering him up into coherence. It’s a standard critique that exemplifies his soft nature.


The old adage “when in Rome” serves as the lyrical bedrock. The person of interest is a follower and for better or worse a product of their environment. Based on the theme of the album, what’s being criticized is the individual’s inability to separate themself from the crowd. Thinking in droves has driven him to his limit, and the desire to break from the rigmarole is reaching its apex.

Sometimes in the World

The heart and mind are in jeopardy and no amount of money can pay the cost. The guitar is seething, boiling over into the backdrop and burning everything in its path. Soon, as in most cases, the anger renders down into pain. He’s lost the love of his life, and all that there is left to do is cry. It’s a painful ode with the right energy, but bland in that it reveals nothing of consequence.

Ivory Coast

Stuck on the shores of anticipation, unable to shake free from past failures; paralysis by analysis. To liberate himself, he’s remembering advice his mother gave him. All those who try will fail, which is to say that it’s just as important to learn how to bounce back from failure than it is to learn how to succeed. Cryptic and a lot of abstractions for what in the end is a common platitude.

Stay Lost

Wandering the streets, lost in a murky haze of uncertainty. On one hand he is adrift, unsure of where life will take him and on the other he is untethered and open to whatever comes his way. Referencing the Book of the Dead is him parting with a previous idea, a time when he let others dictate his moves. The newfound perspective is refreshing, giving him a new lease on life.

La Regle du Jeu

The pace hastens and as the end draws near he unleashes all the pent up frustrations that have been weighing him down. He’s standing atop a mountain, staring at all the chaos and malcontent. The people are savage, treating each other like animals. It’s a grim reminder that there are predators lurking around every corner, waiting to take advantage of the weak and vulnerable.