Record of the Day – Destroyer – Thief (2000)

I recently learned that Merge Records will be reissuing a couple of LPs from Vancouver’s Destroyer on May 25th: a 20th anniversary release of 1998’s City of Daughters, as well as a reissue of my very favourite Destroyer album, 2000’s Thief.

Some albums perfectly encapsulate a period in our lives and I will admit that I have history with Thief. Each time I listen to it I recall some of the best moments of my young adulthood – my early university years, working in record stores, going to shows, doing college radio. Basically, Thief is among the albums that form the foundation of my adult life.

While everyone’s life intertwines with music in different ways, I am certain that if I were to hear the album for the first time today, I would feel just as strongly about it.

The album is classic and, frankly, timeless (despite my personal entanglement with it). It has everything you need in a Destroyer album: Dan Bejar’s trademark vocals, brilliant lyrics and wordplay, and countless self-references – the song City of Daughters referencing his previous album, the songs Mercy (We Had the Right) and M.E.R.C.I., and Destroyer’s The Temple, for example. It also features organs, piano and keyboards played by none other than Jason Zumpano, of Canada’s first Sub Pop-signed band, Zumpano (whose singer, Carl Newman, happens to be Bejar’s bandmate in The New Pornographers).

The album has too many favourite songs to highlight here, though, if pressed, I would say Destroyer’s The Temple, The Way of Perpetual Roads, Canadian Lover/Falcon’s Escape, Mercy (We Had the Right), Queen of Languages, In Dreams, and Thief. And then I would go on to say City of Daughters, To the Heart of the Sun on the Back of the Vulture, I’ll Go, and Death on the Festival Circuit. So really, don’t make me decide on my favourites – just listen to it from start to finish!

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Remember the girl that worked at the record store who could talk your ear off about your favourite band? The one you always ran into at local shows and who had a program on college radio? That was me.

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