The National - Trouble Will Find Me

At this point, six albums in, the National are practically a genre unto themselves. On Alligator, the first album that many of us noticed, they had a dark and driving intensity that didn’t seem too far removed from, say, Interpol. As little as two albums ago, they seemed to share a lot of musical ideas with the Walkmen. These days, though, they’ve followed their inward journey, building on the things that made them special in the first place, turning their hungover throb into an intricate, debonair form of chamber-rock that ebbs and swells on its own tidal swagger. The rest of indie-rock, in the years since we met the band, has continued to splinter into a million different style-shards, spawning microscenes upon microscenes. But while that’s been happening, the National have built up a massive grad-school cult that’s allowed them to headline festivals and, more recently, arenas, becoming word-of-mouth anti-stars the same way their old tourmates in R.E.M. did decades ago. They’ve done it by becoming more and more themselves, by perfecting a sound that not too many people seem interested in exploring anymore. Trouble Will Find Me, their new album, is very much a new album. And that’s a good thing, since the National are very good at what they do.

When the National announced their latest conceptual stunt, playing the same song over and over for a six-hour stretch, the joke that a ton of people in my Twitter feed made was some variation on this one: How is this any different from a normal National show? It’s certainly true that the band has a formula: Plummy muttered verses, slow swirling orchestral build, grand pounding chorus, arrangements that build until the song is just about ready to end. In the lead-up to Trouble Will Find Me, the band’s members have talked a bit in interviews about how the songs are more aggressive than the ones on the last album. And the lineup of guests on the album is heavy enough on indie luminaries (Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten) to shame a Kanye album. But neither of these tweaks amount to a vastly different National-album experience. The band members might consider the songs more aggressive, but if anything, they sound, to my ears, more restrained and delicately assembled; not one wail-along chorus has leapt out on my first few listens. And without staring at the album’s credit sheet, I have no idea which famous friends contributed which sounds. If the album has any distinguishing characteristics in the band’s catalog, it’s probably its general somberness — that lack of explosive hooks — and its increased reliance on expansively arranged strings and horns. Also, Matt Berninger’s gravelly baritone has somehow gotten even deeper since High Violet, and I’m not even sure how that’s possible. Other than those minor evolutions, though, it’s the same old National.

But that looks like a complaint, and it’s not. This band is just incredibly good at cranking out massively satisfying moody churns, rainy-afternoon red-wine anthems, and I’m not remotely mad at the way they’ve stuck with what they do well. It’s not really in the nature of a National album to thrill upon impact; at least for me, their songs sound great in the background until the random moment, which might not come until years later, when you’re driving with Boxer on in the background and you suddenly notice that, holy shit, “Ada” is just an incredible song. I don’t doubt that Trouble Will Find Me has plenty of hidden gems like that, things waiting to be discovered. But certain moments on the album — most of the instruments suddenly going silent for the calm-in-the-storm moment on “Sea Of Love,” the plainspoken and bedraggled vocal on “Humiliation” — that already slay me. More moments like that will reveal themselves. They always do.

The band’s virtues — their steadfastness, their consistency, their subtly deadly little melodies — aren’t tremendously exciting things. And we’re not likely to hear Berninger belting out an anthemic chorus like the one on “Mr. November” anytime soon. The thrilling shock-of-the-new jolt, the thing that the entire online music infrastructure seems built around developing — has nothing to do with this band, and in fact they seem to exist almost as a rebuke to it. The best kinda-famous story about the National is when they toured with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, fresh off of a career-exploding Pitchfork review, as their opening act, only to see venues emptying out after the newer band played. But that tour was the first time I ever saw the National, and I can’t possibly tell you how gratifying it was to see these already-aging Midwesterners — a band I’d decided would be alt-country bores, probably entirely based on their name — just absolutely kick my ass out of nowhere. They were able to do that because they’d been touring hard for years, steadily getting better at what they do, before anyone noticed. And now that they’re actual-famous, they make it look easier than ever.

I don’t think Trouble Will Find Me is going to change too many lives. But its soft, majestic intensity is a reassuring and comfortable thing. I know way too many critics happy to dismiss the National as aging-yuppie lifestyle music. But there’s a whole lot of value in a band knowing their musical identity backwards and forwards, developing and growing into their sound, expertly coloring in the lines that they’ve already drawn. Once again, the National have made a very good National album, and that’s all I really need them to do.

Trouble Will Find Me is out 5/21 on 4AD.

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Comments (88)
  1. SUPERFECTA.

  2. I came here hoping for a late-Friday free album stream. I will leave disappointed.

  3. I like it, but if their previous albums were self-deprecating and melancholy, this shit is downright MOROSE. The songs are all catchy and/or pretty but I’m seriously starting to get worried about Matt.

    • I’d say this is a step above High Violet. That was a depressing album to listen to. This one seems more hopeful.

      • There seems like a lot more personal relationship baggage this time around. A lot more really fucking depressing lyrics like “If you lose me, I’m gonna die”, “Baby, you gave me pain and tears”, “I won’t need any help to be lonely when you leave me”, “You said it would be painless, it wasn’t that at all”, “Now I know how dying feels” and so on. Shit is just bleak from start to finish.

    • i wouldn’t worry much… he’s stated numerous times most of his subject matter is in his head and not from actual experiences.

  4. If The National and The Walkmen with continue making just “very good” respective albums for the rest of their days, I will always have a happy pair of ears.

    • Like the Walkmen, I consider the National to be just consumate professionals. When they go into the studio, you know they’re going to deliver quality output (and, kind of like this evaluation alludes to, music that is very much “their own” and not particularly swayed by the prevailing winds of the current microgrenres). Not sure who else I’d put in the leagues of these two – definitely Spoon, Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, maybe Vampire Weekend given the first few (read: dozen) spins of Modern Vampires.

      Anyways, great read – really enjoying this album, “I Need My Girl” probably my favorite track of the bunch.

  5. ‘I Should Live in Salt’ and ‘Fireproof’ are my jams. I haven’t listened enough yet, but that was a nice write-up.

  6. It’s been a pretty fantastic year for new music. If all the of albums that have already come out so far were the sum total of 2013, it would probably still be the best year for music in a long time. And despite that, Trouble Will Find Me still feel like the best album of the year, and it doesn’t even feel very close.

    Obviously there is some bias involved, because I love The National, but this album feels like a real accomplishment. It’s incredibly cohesive in terms of being an “album,” Matt voice has vastly improved in range and depth, the lyrics are very strong, and music is incredibly intricate and layered, without sounding fussy and overdone. Every time a song ends, I think that was probably the best song on the album, and then the next one starts, and every time the album ends, I want to start it again. I agree there is nothing particularly groundbreaking here in terms of “new sound,” but it feels like they’ve managed to release an album with the incredible cohesion of Boxer with some of the musical elements and textures of High Violet, which to me is the perfect formula.

  7. MBV, Youth Lagoon, The Knife, Kurt Vile and even just this week alone with Deerhunter, Cronin and Savages make that a tough statement to swallow, not to mention high percentage shots from Vampire Weekend and Daft Punk on the way. And, we haven’t even gotten through May yet.

    • Plus Local Natives, Caveman, Mount Moriah, and solid albums by Phoenix and Iron & Wine too. It’s been a crazy good year. Which is why I can’t get over the fact that this feels so much better than all of them.

      • Not to mention the Strokes album.

        • I love the new Strokes album and as long as we’re talking about new albums in 2013, the new Flaming Lips album is starting to suck me in.

          Lately I’ve been defaulting to throwing the Terror on the turntables. The vinyl has a bonus 19 minutes Dan Deacon “remix” of “You Lust” that is just terrific and an enjoyable bonus closer to the album.

          But so long as we’re talking about The National and being morose, feels worth mentioning The Terror too. It probably won’t end up being one of the best albums of the year, but I’m starting to think it was the best thing The Flaming Lips could’ve put out at this point in their career. I mean everyone around my parts were getting sick of the happy-go-lucky concerts, so this turn to the bleakness is greatly appreciated.

        • Love the new Strokes album, probably their first since Room on Fire that will be sitting comfortably in my personal year end list. 2013′s just been brilliant, I would normally be delighted to get one album as good as mbv, Overgrown or MVOTC in a year, not to mention solid efforts from the likes of The Strokes, YYY’s, Phoenix etc. and with the prospect of more to come!

    • I’m curiouse why everyone is having such high hopes for the Daft Punk cd. I like them but it’s mainly since I know they’ll put out a kick ass single that everyone will be dancing to this summer but asking them to put a full album of amazing material is a lot to ask.

    • Also, James Blake’s Overgrown is so great, Merchandise killed it for me, and we’ve got a BoC album on the way! And I’m excited for Kanye.
      2013 is just kicking every other year’s ass so far.

    • As fantastic is this year so far when it comes to albums and as much as I am a massive National fan, Rhye’s album just blew me away… and I don’t think anything can top that :), had the same feeling about Michael Kiwanuka last year(or one before?), anyhow great album, a bit more hopeful then high violet.

      • Rhye is currently sitting atop my favorite as well but I think it’s because they’re a new band and their fresher sound can have more of an impact than say a well established band like The National can. Not saying The National are bad in any way but just that they have their zone after putting out several albums and the ability to blow you away is diminished.

        But this year has been great for music, most notably I think is that they’re haven’t been too many clunkers. The only one that comes to mind is The Strokes but they’ve been on a downhill slide for a while now.

      • That’s funny you say that bc the other day I was listening to The Fall and I thought it was the most antithetical yet strikingly similar song to Fake Empire as humanly possible.

  8. Where can a well intentioned fellow hear a stream of this?

  9. In a year with an unfair amount of good music, this feels like the album that I’ve been waiting for.

    I can’t articulate it quite yet, but I feel as though I just listened to something completely remarkable — the type of album that reminds me why I spend so much time listening to new music, going to shows, and reading Stereogum.

    I can’t remember the last time I felt this way, this captivated, upon a first listen, and all I want to do is listen again.

  10. its good….much more downbeat than the last two…not as good as VW

  11. I listened to this one all day at work. Literally. ALL DAY. When a coworker came over to ask me a question I’d get all pissy because they didn’t understand that I was trying to ABSORB A NEW NATIONAL ALBUM. With that said, I was decidedly underwhelmed the first few spins. It sounded like a meeker version of Boxer at first. But at some point, probably when I put it on in my car and turned it up, things really opened up. The melodies are more intricate and the hooks are buried deeper into the songs. In this way, it reminds me more of Alligator, but with a polished sheen instead of Alligator’s rough-around-the-edges boozefest. It’s a phenomenal record, no doubt – one that fits perfectly into The National’s stellar canon and will surely be, at many points and depending on my mood, my favorite National album. That can be said about everything they’ve recorded since Sad Songs, which is a good thing.

    • Everything you just said is spot on for me, too. And that is why I LOVE The National. These albums; they trick you with faulty first impressions. I had no idea that this album was going to sound the way it does right now in this moment.

      This listen right now; it’s the one when everything clicked.

    • I’ve always compared the National to a good Belgian Trippel. It is complicated on the pallette but smooth going down and it’s as strong as shit. Too much at one setting and your fucked up for hours. I’m not too sure that is such a bad thing because there is a comfort to this hammering. This album just adds to that metaphor, in fact it might be the most intoxicating of the bunch, maybe because it is the freshest but this melencholy is so what I need right now. The guitar dancing around the words on I need my girl in a double helix is why I love this band. They can wrap me up in a comfort cloud of pure aural bliss.

  12. It’s a solid effort, but overall I feel pretty underwhelmed. I don’t understand why the band would say this is a more aggressive album, because it seems to be the exact opposite nearly all the way through. In fact, a lot of these tracks I’m having a hard time telling apart as many sound so similar. In albums before they always struck a nice balance between their somber music by having very energetic, more anthem like tracks mixed in, but those latter tracks seem to be completely absent on this album, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes the 55 minute run time feel a lot longer and a lot less interesting than it should. I really do enjoy The National, and this is an album I’ve been looking forward to for a while now, but I think I was expecting too much after High Violet. Hoping Tom is right and that this is more of a slow burner, something I’ll come to appreciate, but for now it seems to be their weakest effort since their pre-Alligator days.

  13. Nah, Trouble Will Find Me is quite assuredly a much stronger effort than High Violet. Don’t get me wrong, I still really dig High Violet and the midsection Afraid of Everyone – Bloodbuzz – Lemonworld was as good as anything they had ever done before. But it was pretty much a “what you hear is what you get” record even dabbling in overwrought arena rock on a couple of songs (England, Terrible Love, also an all too predictable epic-majestic ballad like Runaway) and that isn’t really The Nationals strong suit. The Nationals best work are the kind of songs that unfold themself over time and don’t reveal all their secrets right away. Unfortunatly, that was exactly what the majority of the tunes on High Violet did and coming from Alligator-Boxer it was a bit of a diminishing returns record. Also, The National is one of the very few alt rock bands that have lyrics that are actually worth paying attention to and High Violet was a bit of a let down in that department as well, too much leaning on repetition and cool but rather vague and generic one-liners (it takes an ocean not to break! ad inifnitum) for the crowd to sing along to, not enough personal or heartfelt material. None of it was actually bad, but as shown again on Trouble Will Find Me: Matt Berninger has more in him than that.

    It’s too early to make definitive statements about TWFM cause it’s definitely more akin to Boxer than High Violet: very restrained, a lot of nice intricate melodies and twist and turns that I’m currently just only beginning to grasp after listening to it about 6 times. Just like Boxer there are 2 more up tempo anthemic songs in Sea of Love and Graceless (especially the latter is pretty great) but that’s not what the bulk of the material is about. I can already say that This is the Last Time –> Pink Rabbits is probably one of their strongest runs yet. In the end, single Demons is probably the weakest track along with closer Hard to Find. But all tracks have things going for them, this album reaches a very high quality on a consistent basis despite being their longest yet. Consistency is maybe not the most sexy quality around in this age of posturing and instant ADD rock but I’m glad we still have a rare band like this going against the grain.

    Mumford and Sons probably won’t cover anything from Trouble Will Find Me like they did with High Violets England but in the end that’s a very good thing and I’m glad they’re doing again what they do best. Outstanding album.

    • I cannot agree with England as an example of a song that is not The National’s strong suit. That song is amazing, one of the best on High Violet IMO. But I agree with your comment overall, this album seems to have more depth to dig into than HV.

      • England is pretty well executed arena rock but it is one of the most direct crowdpleasing songs they’ve ever written and while I like it I don’t think it has the lasting appeal their best material has. I’m happy it exists in their repertoire but I would’ve been very disappointed if they continued down that road on TWFM. I’d rather not have them become the American answer to Editors.

        • “England is pretty well executed arena rock but it is one of the most direct crowdpleasing songs they’ve ever written”

          I’m sorry, are you fourteen years old? I can’t imagine anyone old enough to drink writing this sentence with a straight face.

    • While I love love love High Violet, I agree with this. I remember the first time I listened to Alligator, a cold listen, mind you, suggested by a friend. I wasn’t even sure what to think. I wasn’t instantly hooked. But I knew I had to listen to it again. And the again. And then I was in love.

    • the end of demons is enough for me to place it much higher than weakest track, just the inclusion of that “fuck” does it for me. i totally agree with the “this is the last time-”>”pink rabbits” run, pretty solid. especially “this is the last time”, that track is great. when the drums kick in, the lyrics, damn.

  14. This is another great album from the National. Listened 6/7 times today. Great day.

  15. I fell in love with “Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers” when it came out, and it still might be my favorite National album. The tracks released so far are actually reminding me quite a lot of Sad Songs. If the whole album plays like these couple tracks, this may quite easily make it as my favorite album this year.

    On a different note, this being my first comment on this site, I have to say that being a casual reader for a while, I really did enjoy the writing style, general professionalism, and mature nature of this article/review. I never like articles pertaining to music, for various reasons that usually reflect on some dire need for the writer to appear more intelligent than they are. But the writer of this article sounded like they genuinely enjoyed this album, for no other reason than it simply struck a chord with them and they enjoyed it. It’s that simple. Thank you for a fantastically written article. I will be sure to frequent other writings of yours, Tom.

  16. I think it’s a solid album, it just came out in the wrong season. National is winter/fall music for me.

    • I had to listen to Modern Vampires just to get myself back up again.

      • While I do enjoy Modern Vampires it does have some mannerisms that unfortunatly threaten to undermine the experience like the unnecessary “chipmunk vocals” on Ya Hey (that song would’ve been so much better whitout that), stand out tracks are the ones that keep it relatively simple like Hannah Hunt and Step. But I guess that’s the kind of obvious baiting stuff that gets you high ratings over at sites like the Fork nowadays. And that kind of reminds me of some things written in the article above, The National may rely more on songcraft than zany studio experiments that are hip in comptemporary music journalism but the lasting appeal of their music is usually so much greater than acts that get mentioned as “the next big thing” but fade away pretty fast. I mean, who listened to Clap your hands and say yeah? in the last 5 years anyway, right?

        Oh yeah, after all the “Ezra Koenig is writing about serious subjects instead of grammar now!” praise (and I certainly don’t think Koenig is a bad writer, in fact he’s above average in the current indie rock scene) when I start listening to TWFM after Modern Vampires all I can think is Ezras lyrics pale pretty hard in comparison.

        But for the record: this is not a contest and I hope both albums get a lot of praise from music journalists. They deserve it.

    • I was actually thinking the same thing, though didn’t High Violet come out in Spring/Summer too?

  17. Write some good tunes in 7/4 and 5/4, and you have found your way into my heart. This albums is excellence.

  18. isn’t having matt berninger reduce all of you heterosexual guys to a whimpering puddle yet again enough? he can only do this once every 3 years, dudes.

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  20. Nice. But doing a Premature Evaluation on a The National album is like doing a miss teen USA contest in a maternity ward.

  21. To me, this is already the best National album and that’s only after 5 or 6 listens. I love all the odd meter songs (first one I SHould Live in Salt seems to be in 9 and the second song demons is in 7, Humiliation seems to have mixed meter as does Hard to Find). Not sure how this doesnt seem like an evolution to this writer. The National have never before had a song in a strange or mixed meter and this album has a bunch. Also vocally this record feels much more confident and diverse to me…Matt is singing higher than ever before on Pink Rabbits and I Should Live in Salt and I guess lower than ever before on Demons. It feels more diverse than High Violet and I like all the weird synthetic textures both in the drums and the keys / synths. And as far as a “lack of explosive hooks”??? It seems like every song has a massive hook. I mean the first song Matt belts “I Should Live in SALT for leaving you behind!” over and over….(is it “behind” he’s saying?) And I can see how the band feels this record is more aggressive with Sea of Love and Graceless and This Is The Last Time all being more unhinged than anything on High Violet. The sound / production is more analog feeling to me — less modern / aggressive I guess, so that might be the difference to some as far as it feeling more laid back. But I like the way this feels older and more timeless. Anyway, I predict this album will be put alongside Alligator as their greatest and I love it more already. It’s more consistent, more ambitious musically and lyrically stronger overall. I love how Matt is just putting it all out there.

  22. I think that with this album, The National have quietly proven themselves worthy of the title “America’s best band.”

  23. Really enjoying it but can’t see why Rylan has been left off.

    Surely room could have been made for the little ‘un.

    • I read an interview where Matt said they’re considering putting out another record next year as they had 30-35 songs done/partially done. Wouldn’t be surprised if they did if that’s the case.

  24. Heavenfaced is fuckin beautiful, those gentle chords really got to me… :D

  25. First off, I love this album already. As has been mentioned this is definitely a “National album” by all means, but there are a few songs that are new territory for them, especially “Humiliation”. Much of the back half of the album reminds me of Wilco’s later output, which is always welcome to my ears.

    I don’t want to say it’s a better album than High Violet, because they are both worthy successors to Boxer, but this one just has a bit more weight and substance to it.

    Agree that the lyrical subject matter is very bleak, even by Matt’s standards.

  26. Listened to the whole thing straight through today on the ride over my Ma’s house. I’m absolutely floored. I’ve always liked The National and thought it couldn’t get much better than HV (which is great but definitely has ebbs and flows). I loved this one from beginning to end. The arrangements are perfect and while there’s not immediately obvious lyrical hooks, there were a couple times when I’d be listening and Matt would sing some line that just cut right through. Can’t wait to see them at Barclay’s in June and then at Bonnaroo a week later.

  27. I am so relieved to read the generally positive feedback after SG’s snarky write-off of the band in general, that was a really nice passive aggressive review. Already in love with this album, and so many people have already said the things I have been thinking: a great consistent sound across the album without it being repetitive and droning like HV, no big choruses, but tons of lyrical gems that immediately hit me and stick with me, and being pleasantly surprised with the great stretches of songs, how one ends and then the next one begins and I go: “Oh yeah, this one is good too,” and how it feels like a much shorter album than it actually is. And that was my run-on sentence repeating everything that has already been said, thanks for your thoughts.

    • The funny thing about this review is that the reviewer seems to criticize fellow music journalists who lazily write this band off prefering hip and gimmicky acts over a band like The National who just continue delivering very high quality albums time after time … but because of the passive aggressive tone of this article he ends up being one of those music journalists himself (maybe this was not his intention but it’s kind of the tone one gets from this article). I guess they don’t have the chipmunk vocals or insane P4K fueled hype machine going for them, nor did they dissapear completely off the map for over 10 years just to reappear and see their procrastination rewarded by the hype-bandwagon on the internet. They’re just making a very strong album every 2-3 years and this new one even manages to outshine their previous effort quite easily. Maybe that’s not quite enough to be the coolest cats in modern indie but I wonder who I’ll be listening to 5 years from now: this album by the National or generic hip band x relying on zany production effects and a cool background to obfuscate the lack of inspirational songwriting…

  28. Very underwhelmed by this album, but I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting in the first place. This album, if anything, actually makes me appreciate High Violet more.

  29. Have I been listening to the same album as the rest of you?

    1. The Boxer
    2. Alligator
    3. High Violet
    4. Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers
    5. Trouble will Find Me
    6. Self-Titled

    • Hmmm, I would say

      1. Boxer
      2. Trouble Will Find Me
      3. Alligator
      4. High Violet
      5. Sad Songs
      6. The National

      Funny, our ranking is the same aside from this new album. It took a few listens to really sink in (like it always does with The National) but after listening to it all weekend, it outshines Alligator and High Violet for me.

    • First, it’s too soon to tell where this will fall in some kind of The National album battle royal.

      Second, your order could be true, depending on your particular taste, but that is because their other albums are so phenomenal and less because Trouble Will Find Me is in any way weak on it’s own.

      Personally, I’m going to go on pretending that this is the only The National album, for a while, and resist the urge to compare it to anything they have done previously.

      • Totally agree. It hasn’t even been officially released, yet, and folks are placing it into the rankings of National albums. Personally, I think it’s a fantastic record and one I’m certain will gain praise both initially and over time – as is typical for their albums.

  30. Ohhhh, you got me! By accidentally adding “the” it proves that your opinion has MUCH more merit then mine. I’ve bet you’ve seen them more times live, have all their records on 1st pressing (brassland) vinyl etc……or it could be that it’s just a typo.

    It’s a comment board for shit sake, not the New York times.

    • Easy there, tiger. It just makes you seem as somewhat of a casual listener while National albums usually need a few spins to really unfold themselves.
      Anyway, it seems weird to me how anyone could prefer High Violet above this new one for reasons I stated above but hey, to each his own I guess.

  31. I really like The National, they’ve made some beautiful songs, some just aching with sadness and some that just rock out. And I pretty much like all the songs on TWFM alot, apart from maybe Slipped. I just feel a slight wave of disappointment in how its very similar to High Violet, they definitely do what they do really well and I love their sound and Matt’s voice, but just one thing I wish they didn’t do was put the same mood into every single song. Apart from maybe Sea of Love, they just don’t rock out enough for me at the moment, I wish they would rock out heavier just a bit more! They are really good at it! I’d just like a bit more energy, enthusiasm, upbeatness, I don’t know but they can do it I know it, they’ve shown it in the past.

    While this makes me seem like I don’t “get” The National, I do I really do, but I think constructive criticism can be applied too. I just don’t understand why every track needs the same sombre mood, I know Matt likes music to have an emotional connection but you don’t have to implement that into every single song you make. You can have some fun as well you know guys, Pavement for example, Matt’s heroes, and yet The National are nothing like Pavement. Still love you though guys, just smash your guitars a bit more! I’m looking at you Dessner brothers!

  32. Not saying that TWFM is bad, but to me it seems that HV was about a band trying to reach great heights, as opposed to this record, that has a more restrained sound, like sad songs, a record a particularly dislike. Saying that, i fail to see how TWFM is a somewhat ”more legit” National record.

    Guys, you’ll excuse me but this idea that you have to listen to something 30 times to like it, it’s a bit weird, doesn’t mean that you actually like something, it means that: ”Ok, i will listen to it until i like it, like the other do”.

    It’s natural to take some time to enjoy something, but as said…. it’s natural, it’s not a obligation to listen National, and also it’s more of a time thing, because you chance then your tastes too. If i didn’t like something and think it’s boring than i’ll listen something else i find interesting. Otherwise, you might listen to i don’t know…Paramore or something 50 times, eventually you”ll start liking it or find something you like.

    • If you have to work that hard to like it you probably just don’t like it. Which is fine. I definitely loved this album from the first time I heard it, but I can see how it could take a few listens to fully appreciate the songs.

      Once you know how the songs move it’s just a pleasure to just listen to all the nuances of the instrumentation. Like the guitar sound that comes in right before he starts singing again after the “windows” part of “Graceless,” or the voices going in and out in “This Is the Last Time.” Not to mention the lyrics, which with the National, are almost always weird to me at first until I think about them. I never full understand most of them but I love how they sound and how he sings them.

      Anyway if you listen to “Sea of Love” a couple times and then don’t get floored when he comes back in with “I see people on the ground…” you might not be into the National. Or the very end of that song when the backup voices come in. Such an intense song for less than 4 minutes.

      I definitely know the feeling of not wanting to miss out on something lots of people say is great music. But if they don’t have you actually hooked after 5 or so listens you should move onto some other great music. Like I’m never really gonna like “Grimes” that much.

  33. All GIFs and such aside, this is an amazing album. It’s incredibly dark and moving. Their most aggressive (and arguably best) effort to date. Aggressive in lyrics and in nuanced melodies/backbeats. I love this album and I love The National.

  34. im excited to listen to this album

  35. Late for the party here, but so far much of what I’ve heard is quite good. Not sure yet that it grabs me the same way as High Violet or Boxer, in my opinion their best, but a few more spins will determine. Still strong stuff as always from them though :)

  36. This is the Last Time just absolutely takes me for a ride. Totally solid album.

  37. Pink Rabbits … that’s how I feel about this album… PInk fucken Rabbits…

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