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Monday, May 20, 2013

Dan's Pick of the Week: Trouble Will Find Me by The National

     While most people this week are probably listening to Daft Punk’s new album with much praise, I’ll be busy celebrating the release of Trouble Will Find Me, the new album by The National, which has me rejoicing greatly. For their sixth release, the band has not sacrificed their strong lyrics for a quick indulging sound. Instead, the exact opposite has occurred: the music is more disjunct and the lyrics are deeper than ever. They are so deep that I had to listen to the album three times before I could even fathom the amount of intensity that is contained. 
     So what can one expect from The National? Over the course of their discography, the band has recorded with various musicians like Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, and Richard Reed Parry. Their albums gradually became more orchestral to the point of being declared a chamber pop band. The music continues to grow larger in sound and instrumentation, but one thing that you will not find in The National’s music is a frequent use of synthesizers. The gradual transformation in their sound encourages the fans to keep coming back, but it also prevents them from getting scared off in the presence of some abrupt change (ex. Radiohead). Regarding the syncopated rhythms and various meters, the band has been leaning this way for some time. It is most present within the b-sides of their previous album, High Violet.

     Trouble Will Find Me seems to have elements from the band’s past two albums, but overall it’s quite unique. Matt Berninger spills out the deepest parts of himself throughout this record to the point of questioning his own morality and intentions. His music seems to be a way in which he vents out all his inner conflicts which end up in the form of a story. This incorporates much lyrical continuity within the album that it would be impossible to separate any track from the listing. This is probably why Trouble Will Find Me is one of The National’s longest albums. 
     One thing that I have learned about all the band’s albums is that none of them can be taken lightly. They are like babies: They constantly need affection and your full attention. As ridiculous as it sounds, it is very true, especially when compared to a band like Daft Punk, where one could zone out while listening and still be able to appreciate the music. Everything keeps moving in Trouble Will Find Me, and one could easily miss out on some great lyrical moments.

     There are some pretty rocking songs on this album, however. “Sea Of Love” would probably win the title, but I cannot forget songs like “Demons” and “Graceless”. “I Should Live In Salt” is the perfect album opener, which introduces the narrator’s struggles alongside an epic and inducing melody. “Don’t Swallow The Cap” is deeply emotional, containing many elements of death. “Slipped” sounds like it should be within the deep tracks of Boxer or High Violet. My favorite songs, however are the last four tracks of the album. “I Need My Girl” is an instant classic with its catchy lyrics and bitter tone. It acts as a “Runaway” of this album. “Humiliation” sounds like it starts the second track of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs; however, the rest of the music is quite unique. It tells a story of a night gone crazy, hence the humiliation. “Pink Rabbits” completes this album with the most beautiful melody and amazing lyrics. Matt Berninger sings, “Am I the one you think about when you sit in your faint chair drinking pink rabbits?”. The album closer is “Hard To Find” which is the ideal track to be placed at the end.
     The National tends to build their albums up from beginning to end with the most intense music at the finish line. I greatly admire this technique and it has never failed to please me. Overall, The National is maintaining their reputation as a band with dark and passionate music alongside incredibly deep lyrics. Trouble Will Find Me does not disappoint!

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