June 2nd, 2013 | Have You Heard the New... | 1 Comment
No, this site has not gone under! I’ve just been in the army a lot the last couple weeks and when I got off two week ago I was uber sick and couldn’t even bring myself to write anything on this blog. But I’ve returned and today and tomorrow I’ll try and get some posts up and get this thing back to life. To start, I want to talk about the new The National album, Trouble Will Find Me.
To start, it’s clear that The National are still riding their wave of inspiration and excellence – Trouble Will Find Me joins their last three albums as another taught, intelligent, and impressive collection of songs. However, there are some changes to be found, though none all that boat-rocking.
Firstly, the sound is much more wall-of-sound-y; there’s more of a swampy reverb thing going on with everything blending together a bit more. It works, but in a weird way it makes the songs sound more radio-friendly. Not that The National have sold out or anything, but the sound feels just a tad smoother in a way that’s not necessarily good or bad, but will likely divide listeners.
The lyrics, however, are definitely a bit of step down from frontman Matt Berninger‘s previous highs on High Violet and Boxer. It’s not that they’re not good, it’s simply that whereas Beninger used to bust out the most incredible, haunting imagery left, right and centre as if purging his head of it, on Trouble Will Find Me most of the lyrics detail feelings and action, and when he does use imagery, it’s rarely as potent as before. “Mistaken For Strangers” probably contains more incredible imagery alone than the entirety of Trouble Will Find Me. That being said, there’s still a couple great lines throughout the album, like on “Pink Rabbits” when he sings “I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls”, or “Don’t Swallow The Cap” when he sings, “And if you want to see me cry/Play Let It Be/Or Nevermind.”
Vocally Beninger pushes himself. While the signature baritone isn’t in short supply, he often softens his voice up, even getting a bit angelic/Thom York sounding on “Heavenfaced” and “Hard To Find”.
Annnd I don’t know how to end this: it’s a solid album. Though some songs like “Fireproof” and “Heavenfaced” annoy me a bit, the power behind stuff like “Demons”, “Don’t Swallow The Cap” and “Pink Rabbits” makes up for them. And The National also just feel like the right band for right now in a weird way. Or maybe they feel like the right band for where I am in my life at this time – moving through maturity with caution and paranoia. The National are good at soundtracking that kind of thing.