My introduction to the National’s music came rather late around 2010 while they had already released their fifth album “ High Violet ” but I have to admit that I was so pleasantly surprised and certain that there was something exceptional going on there. They can be described as one of those bands that takes you a while to understand but once you do , you surely get hooked to their music & mesmerizing vocals. This special kind of bitter- sweet reflective rock slowly grows on you and before you know it you become a fan. Their latest album « Trouble will find me » proved me right and to my mind is probably one of their most self-referential albums and one of the best albums released in 2013. It debuted at number three on the US Billboard chart and was nominated for Best Alternative Album at the Grammy Awards. It has admittedly received complementary reviews.
For the past 14 years the American band formed in Cincinnati , Ohio, comprised of two sets of brothers and a friend, have struggled but managed successfully to develop a sound distinctly their own. Recognition took quite a long time to arrive but they never stopped chasing every possible avenue the music could go down. Staying independent and mostly true to themselves they have managed to find their way as well as recognition on a large scale.
They seem to know how to convey the mood of their music and everything they are trying to deliver is completely on mark , making their work incredibly intimate. One could describe their music as sensitive , dark , humorous , tender and insecure at times. The truth is that once you go deeply into it and spend time listening , you find new things to identify with , new paths to follow and reasons to laugh or grieve for all the things that could have been. Ways to confront with your own demons and realize the futility of living in the past.
With the release of their sixth album , THE NATIONAL clearly seem more confident than ever and willing to expand their sound , to experiment without worrying what the audience would like to hear. After all they don’t need to prove their identity any longer. They deliver us a brilliant album with its optimistic , darker , melancholic moments but without doubt one that explores and covers a wide range of sounds and themes , fraught with melodies that are easily memorable & powerful vocals. Their album sounds so familiar and instantly finds its way to your to your inner world. Lyrics that deal with existential issues that you can easily connect to , since you recognize yourself in them and small moments of greatness make it grow on you but at the same time it leaves so many things to be discovered. Sea of love , Fireproof , I need my girl and Graceless are some of my favourite tracks.
The National prove to be a band of subtle revelations and through their sound they demonstrate the courage to continue being true to themselves , picking at all the things that often eat on us , disappoint , hurt , haunt , dishearten or give us the strength to carry on. One can’t fail to notice that they have a special way of scratching the surface to discover what is well hidden underneath. Real strivers , they have worked harder than other bands to find their place in the indie rock world , demonstrating inventive , excellent musicianship , persistence , love and skills required to reach their goal.
Look for the sincerity and the serenity of their music when trouble tries to find you and keep a close eye on them. They may be one of the reasons to rediscover music , see your own issues from a different angle , let go of what’s bothering you & triumph over your fears.
The National – I Need My Girl (Live Acoustic) video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_79sx6V3tU
- The National (2001)
- Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003)
- Alligator (2005)
- Boxer (2007)
- High Violet (2010)
- Trouble Will Find Me (2013)
Official Site : http://americanmary.com/
You Tube Channel : http://www.youtube.com/user/thenationalofficial
The National on Spotify : https://play.spotify.com/artist/2cCUtGK9sDU2EoElnk0GNB