I have been wanting to write about The National for sometime but I’m still struggling to put my emotion about them into words.
They do something to me like no other band or artist has been able to. Without sounding ungrateful, I don’t listen to them religiously and they don’t encapsulate happiness for me because their melancholic regime is catalogued for when I need time for myself. Every single time I listen to them Matt Berninger and co. manage to make me feel incredibly small. Berninger with his beautiful voice that speaks to me in languages that I can’t reply in except with the feeling in my body. They manage to string a set of words together making sentences that even with a line guide I would struggle to write. And ultimately, I am a sucker for strings, which they play with ease. This combined makes a recipe for confusion and I can’t get enough of it. Somehow, I feel as though they’re having a conversation with me, and only me, despite the thousands of records they have released. When my needle hits their groove, I might as well be hanging on the other end of a telephone listening to them whilst they repeat my problems back to me in a sultry, reassuring voice.
Morrissey is renowned as a beautiful lyricist in England and across the world of music but Berninger is the American voice of this generation, and his poetry is only just peaking. To admit that sorrow waited and won; to be served the sky with a slice of lemon; to admit that you’re in love with everyone you grew up with… There is a reputation for a wordsmith like that and to be called a poet doesn’t justly serve you.
The National can be hard to get your head around, but persevere. I grew up listening to The Smiths but I’ve entered adulthood with The National. Once they have you, then every other lyric in every other song by every other band will sound petty and meaningless because you will have tasted the First Class of Music. You won’t even wonder why anymore but you will subconsciously return to The National to feel relief of economy, every day music. When that happens, you will have reached your coming of age and adulthood awaits.