Oh yes, the first track from Boxer is here. Though the record’s a star-studded affair (Sufjan on piano for a few tracks, Doveman lending his keys to others), pretty sure this one is pure National. Sounds like Matt’s got Big issues on his mind, and the sweet simplicity of this cut’s first half says it all; set to a bare, piano-student progression, Berninger’s baritone notes “we’re half awake in a fake empire,” describing us with “bluebirds on our shoulders,” “picking apples, making pie” and walking with “diamond slippers on.” In typical National fashion, the track shifts into an adroitly arranged passage — with a smooth horn section, snapping snare shots, and full band interplay — and though we’d love to delve into the track’s sociopolitical issues (not really), we’re just glad to to have a taste, finally, of the album.
The National embark on a don’t-miss tour soon. Head here for the dates.
Boxer is out 5/23 on Beggars Banquet.