Over the last decade and a half, The National have built their own niche. No band can match them for self-defeated, detail-oriented introspection. In frontman Matt Berninger, they have someone who can turn the most mundane of observations into a beautiful turn of phrase. And these are expressed through sombre, grandly-arranged songs equally capable of spitting fireballs as they are of burrowing deep into the human psyche. Berninger, meanwhile, is wrapped up in lamenting on lost friends and years rolling by without warning. Some things change, some things degrade and some things stay the same.
Of the bands that came out of the Great Big Indie Rock Boom of the s, The National are one of the few cases of a group that has gotten better with age. Even at the beginning, The National had a knack for writing blistering songs about romance gone wrong. Is it someone letting go? It was a turning point, indicating not everything is about despair if you look closely. It fast became the epitome of what this band is about: a driving drum beat surrounded by moody guitars, layered atmospheric sounds, and self-deprecation. With The National, emotions are always heightened, always on the brink of utter collapse. Nah, but it always feels like it. This mournful ballad is peak National and is everything that makes the band great: A stark emotional moment wrapped around an intimate arrangement of piano, soft guitars and brass accents. Is the glass empty or half full?
The National, truly, is a rare breed. While it seems strange to refer to National as a classic-rock band, they do have a deep enough catalogue now that warrants extensive exploration, as well as a thorough celebration. It is the most National National song ever. These folky strummers, released 10 years apart, feel like cousins.
Bryce, who had assisted in recording the album, soon joined the band, participating as a full member in the recording of its follow-up, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers Leaving behind their day jobs, the National signed with Beggars Banquet Records and released their third studio album, Alligator , to widespread critical acclaim. The band's fourth and fifth studio albums, Boxer and High Violet , increased their exposure significantly. Sign in or Register. The National Formed Performances 8. Lauren chats to The National.