Sorry for the delay In TOTW recently. Although in the current circumstances I’ve had more time available the hours have been taken up with some bigger projects that you’ll all find out about soon and my track of the week recommendations have slipped slightly.
Bloodbuzz Ohio was easily my most listened to track last week. My girlfriend has been listening to a lot of their back catalog and has taken a shining to this track especially so its been on strong rotation at home. It is the opening single to my favorite album of theirs; “High Violet.”
Bloodbuzz Ohio’s success rests in the counterpoint between the high energy of the instrumentation and the downplayed baritone vocals. This energy continues to escalate throughout the track as it builds to the chorus, where its chord changes cause the track to plateau and resonate between two conflicting moods.
Its one of several styles and techniques that The National are exceptionally talented at and have utilized several times in their catalog. However, for me Bloodbuzz Ohio is the first time that they mastered this technique creating a song that still resonates with me to this day:
I’ve been listening to The National a lot this week and forgot just how much I loved their music and its overall high quality. My favorite album “High Violet” never puts a foot wrong throughout its entire playtime.
“Runaway” comes towards the end of the album and slows down its pace both in tempo and production by stripping down the percussion to its bare elements. It then extenuates the emotion in the lyrics with use of strings and brass orchestration that swell in and out of the piece. A great track on a now classic album that’s well worth your time:
Alligator the third studio album by The National is ten years old this week. To celebrate I thought I would make a track from it my TOTW.
Often considered the first “great” National album Alligator certainly shows an evolution of their sound and almost provides a bridge form the earlier work of a more traditional rock band to the sparse arrangements and cryptic poetic lyrics that has made them the success they are today.
City Middle is a perfect example of this development. The sound design found in this track feels like a precursor to their albums up to trouble will find me. Alligator is a fantastic work that shows the development of The National to who they are today and tracks like City Middle still stand out as great pieces ten years on:
It’s taken me a little while to go to The Nationals back catalogue since giving their most recent release Trouble Will Find Me the 2013 album of the year.
I really don’t know why its taken me over a year to go back and listen to their earlier works and now I have I feel guilty for not doing it sooner.
The National manage on every album to create these brooding works that are the epitome of what we talk about when we call tracks growers. The subtleties in most of their music allow Matt Berningers Baritone lyrics to drift into weird and poetic places that take several listens to decipher. But once those lyrics mixed with carefull instrumentation resonate with you they can latch on for good.
Some do it quicker than others and Start A War had me within the first thirty seconds. I would highly recommend all of their work especially The albums Boxer and Trouble will Find me as they have the strongest effect on me:
The National haven’t been on my radar untill recently, Their latest album “Trouble will find me” has been filling up most of my free listening time over the past few weeks. What makes the music so compelling for me is how the deep lyrics are complimented perfectly by the music. The whole album does this with such ease that it almost sounds effortless on first listen but this feeling only comes from years of experience. On repeat the quality of their craft mixed with the care and thought put into each track shines through and the whole album reveals itself as a true gem.
Fireproof is a shorter track but demonstrates power in its simplicity. A perfect example of the relationship between the music and lyrics expressed by the band and a great place to start:
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