The National – Trouble Will Find Me

After the success of their last album ‘High Violet’ The National’s next offering was always going to be a highly anticipated record and ‘Trouble Will Find Me’, their sixth, is perhaps their best to date. From the epic ‘I Should Live In Salt’ through its thirteen tracks and hour runtime contains some of the best songs that Matt and co have written. Musically rich and layered it is The National’s trademark sound and Matt’s lyrics that make every inch of this record a treasure. Lead single ‘Demons’ builds beautifully as Matt sings ‘Do not know what’s wrong with me, Sours in the cup, When I walk into a room, I do not light it up, Fuck’. Instruments ebb and flow from quiet to loud and back again and it is the juxtaposition between the fuller sounds, sweeping strings, guitars played with just a little more force to the delicate and spacious moments where the songs come alive. The presence of St. Vincent and Sharon Van Etten throughout, although subtle, cannot be ignored as theirs is such an integral part of the overall sound as is Sufjan Stevens again lurking in the background providing drum machine to certain tracks. Songs like ‘I Need My Girl’ and the stand out ‘Pink Rabbits’ are heart breaking the latter containing the lines ‘I’m so surprised you want to dance with me now, I was just getting used to living life without you around, I’m so surprised you want to dance with me now, You always said I held you way too high off the ground’. It ends with Matt repeating ‘You said it would be painless, The needle in the dark, You said it would be painless, It wasn’t that at all’ which is just one example of some of the many memorable moments contained within the lyrics. While some may wrongly label the band miserable because they tackle some dark issues ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ has the uncanny knack of still being light, it’s not a record that will depress you despite its themes, which is a skill in itself. I could go on about just how good this record is but I don’t want to spoil it for you all I will say in conclusion is I can’t recommend it highly enough and I will bet money that when they do the album of the year lists this record will feature in most of them and if not at the top certainly close.

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4 Responses to The National – Trouble Will Find Me

  1. This record tells a story. Perhaps it’s not meant to be such an overt chronicle of a broken relationship, but few albums have felt like such a self-contained narrative to me. Trouble Will Find Me weaves a tale of loss, loneliness, and a touch of closure, tied together with beautifully melancholy melodies and frank lyrics.

  2. Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off thanks, I’ve wanted to have a stab at a brief review for a while now and this album felt like a good fit because my reason for liking this band/album isn’t very deep so so so excited to see them with Frightened Rabbit in September. Their set on Day 1 of Sasquatch 2010 is still one of my all-time favourite concerts.

  3. When the National announced their latest conceptual stunt , playing the same song over and over for a six-hour stretch, the joke that a ton of people in my Twitter feed made was some variation on this one: How is this any different from a normal National show? It’s certainly true that the band has a formula: Plummy muttered verses, slow swirling orchestral build, grand pounding chorus, arrangements that build until the song is just about ready to end. In the lead-up to Trouble Will Find Me, the band’s members have talked a bit in interviews about how the songs are more aggressive than the ones on the last album. And the lineup of guests on the album is heavy enough on indie luminaries (Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten) to shame a Kanye album. But neither of these tweaks amount to a vastly different National-album experience. The band members might consider the songs more aggressive, but if anything, they sound, to my ears, more restrained and delicately assembled; not one wail-along chorus has leapt out on my first few listens. And without staring at the album’s credit sheet, I have no idea which famous friends contributed which sounds. If the album has any distinguishing characteristics in the band’s catalog, it’s probably its general somberness — that lack of explosive hooks — and its increased reliance on expansively arranged strings and horns. Also, Matt Berninger’s gravelly baritone has somehow gotten even deeper since High Violet, and I’m not even sure how that’s possible. Other than those minor evolutions, though, it’s the same old National.

  4. Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off thanks, I’ve wanted to have a stab at a brief review for a while now and this album felt like a good fit because my reason for liking this band/album isn’t very deep so so so excited to see them with Frightened Rabbit in September. Their set on Day 1 of Sasquatch 2010 is still one of my all-time favourite concerts.

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