Needless to say, 2016 took some rough turns, ending as a very large, to some, and frightening transition was to begin. In response to the surrounding confusion, as well as some turns in his personal life, David Bazan wrote his newest, Care. The album explores that temptation during those transitional times to turn away and hide out in nostalgia, and what it takes to stay present. Bazan teamed up with well-known Oregonian Richard Swift to create something similar to his earlier Headphones work, but slightly more refined. There’s often an undeniable coldness to Bazan’s arrangements, punchy drums under thumping synth rhythms and Bazan’s melancholy howls, but Swift helps smooth the edges, creating softer beds of reverb that make more of a dreamy haze enclosing Bazan’s endless lyrical questioning. On the buoyant toe-tapper “Keep Trying,” Bazan repeats, “Sometimes love isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be/Keep trying.” If Bazan can be optimistic, there’s hope for the rest of us as well.