Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The National

To complete my journalism/soccer/music power trio, let me talk a bit about The National, a band a lot of you have probably heard of. Instead of logically talking about their new release, I'll revert back to their previous album, Boxer, since I haven't listened to the new one, High Violet, and listened to pitchfork, I did think their review of Boxer was definitely right in certain respects. Specifically, I think Boxer is an album that you need to ease your way into, more than other albums. It doesn't come out and hit you after one listen, and even the standout opening track, Fake Empire, takes a few listens before the epic build-up really gets you.

Contrary to the end of Fake Empire, Boxer is a lot about key emotional moments in each song (2:30 in Slow Show and before the choruses in Green Gloves). The fact that the rest of the somber album (that someone on pitchfork described as one that demands a person in a dark room sipping whiskey while regretting lost love) is so quietly subtle only heightens these moments. Because Boxer is an album with a distinct mood, haunting melodies that stay in your head - possibly because they don't occur as often as you might hope.

Boxer is great in that it is not overly-ambitious. The National are not over-bearing in what they do. They come off as regular guys writing - God how can I say this? - indie music with a distinctly working-class ethos. This is not music for Brooklyn hipster dandies, but music for the tough yet sensitive day laborer somewhere in Virginia.

There aren't the stand-out tracks that will jump out at you, but as I all too often find myself saying, give this album a few listens and it will grow on you.

If I were a lyrics guy, I would take the time to look them up and read them, and this would help support (hopefully not refute) my thoughts on the album. But I am stubbornly anti-lyrics, so this will have to suffice.

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