The National change things up a bit for their 7th album. Don't worry it's still sad, just in a new way. Matt gives us an inside look at the struggles of marriage and how to endure life's painful moments.
First let me say that The National is one of my all time favorite bands, so I am a little biased. This is not their best album to date. But it is a refreshing take on their usual formula of sad songs to listen to on rainy days.
You can hear this difference on the first single they released, The System only Dreams in Total Darkness. The usually restrained Dessner bros go hard and even lay down a sick solo. There is a feeling of chaos and disorder that is not usually found on National albums.
Matt's lyrics and singing style are also different here. He is more open and vulnerable than ever before. His wife Carin helped him write on this album, as she has done in the past. It feels like that collaboration has reached a peak here. “I only take up a little of the collapsing space/I better cut this off, don’t want to fuck it up,” Matt sings on Walk it back.
The mid album track Turtleneck is nothing like we've ever heard form the National. At first I didn't like it, but it has grown on me with time. Matt basically screams the whole time over some of the hardest sounding music they have ever written. Not what you expect, but it somehow works on this album.
The National have delivered another solid album to a catalogue that is hard to beat. They somehow manage to keep things interesting after all of these years. Hopefully they can keep it up for a couple more, for some reason I know they will.