Top Five Songs To Convince Your Wife To Go To A National Concert

26 Mar

It can be very hard to take a band like The National seriously. They’re really not much of a band for subtlety and they only ever traffic in a single emotion. However, they do it well. They’re evocative and cinematic with every beat. They drown you with their longing and nostalgia. There is no one as able to write characters that would rather wallow in mistakes than fix them and no one as able to make that feel romantic. There is a lot to make fun of in all of this, but there’s also really good music and that’s all the argument they really need.

5. Fake Empire

Really here, I just want to highlight the crescendo at the end of the song. It is a fascinating touch. It’s not unusual in rock but I would expect it more from a band like Speedy Ortiz, not from a band as hermetic as The National.

4. I Am Easy To Find

For I Am Easy To Find, The National featured guest vocalists on almost every track and they were all women. It’s incredible how much adding female perspectives did for the album and for this song. The comedy of two people singing about how easy they both are to find when clearly neither of them is going to look is just a fun listen.

3. Exile Vilify

This is as gentle and as heartfelt as The National has ever been and somehow fits perfectly with the emotions of Portal. RIP Companion Cube. You deserved better.

2. I Need My Girl

I don’t think it’s possible to make a more National song than “I Need My Girl.” That title really tells you everything you need to know for the song. However, there will never be a song that does as good a job of capturing a single emotion as this one does. Sometimes, you do need your girl and if you can’t actually have her, at least you can know that there is someone else who feels as you do.

1. City Middle

“You said “I think I’m like Tennessee Williams”
I wait for the click. I wait, but it doesn’t kick in
I think I’m like Tennessee Williams
I wait for the click. I wait, but it doesn’t kick in”

It’s an incredibly compulsive stanza. It completes the song by itself but then moves into a vocalization that lets both you and the song exhale for a perfect extra beat. This is the best of an already excelllent band.

Bonus: Bartees Strange

I love opening acts. They can be a bit of a crapshoot, but that’s true of every concert and Bartees Strange is an exciting choice. Try “Flagey God” and you’ll see why. This club-influenced rock track does a lot of interesting things and has as much of an earworm for a hook as you’ll ever find.

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