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There’s something magical about 3 am.
When you’re home alone. You’re tired and run down. You’re hair is a mess. A bottle of beer is in front of you on the table. And you’re thinking. And the thoughts you think grow and grow and become so much bigger than they ever could be in the light of day. And the radio on your shelf is gently singing.
There’s something beautiful about a grey skies.
When you’re in the city. It’s cold. The clouds leaking, not a down pour, but a slow drizzle. You can see the city’s lights reflected in the puddles. You pull your jacket in close for warmth as you march towards your destination, ear buds firmly placed in your ears.
There’s something calming about driving at night.
When your windows are down. And the cool air is rushing in and gently blowing your hair. And it smells like oranges. You sit and smile, but just barely. When you get to where you’re going, you almost don’t want to stop. Because you’re listening to one of those songs.
Music is truly a wonderful thing. It’s a gift that speaks for us when we don’t have the words to say. Or it can be a tool that ignites something in your imagination. Or it can be a way to experience whatever is going on around you in a deeper way. I always find myself gravitating towards this kind of music. And usually, but not always, it’s sad. There are a few go to artist’s on my ipod that I always look to when I am in certain moods. Or when I want to be in certain moods. And I think the band that I look to the most is The National.
- The National
Long running indie darlings, the Ohio group just released their most anticipated album to date, “Trouble Will Find Me“. This album proves that The National are trule masters of their art. Trouble doesn’t take you anywhere unexpected, or break any new ground musically or thematically. But not every group or album needs to do that. The National know who they are and what message they want to deliver, and they’ve spent six albums honing it. Trouble is the groups culmination of sad rock. ANd I eat up every second of it.
I first became aware of The National in 2007 when they released “Boxer“. It received “album of the year” from Paste. I got the record and loved it. Well, I loved a few songs on the album, but here and there were weak spots. Which is to be expected on any album really. But the new one flows so flawlessly, and strikes every chord in me in just the right way, it’ll be a shame if they aren’t named to a few more album of the year lists come years end.
While the album is at it’s best when it exists on the fringes, in the backgrounds of your day, there are a few tunes that demand attention. “Don’t Swallow The Cap” chugs along like a steam engine. When the vocals in the verse are being doubled in a low register that you can barley hear, the song really turns in to something special. And the lyrics are exceptional on this tune as well. “Heavenfaced” is another standout. Singer Matt Berninger’s dark, baritone voice soars above a lush track. “Demons” is a classic National tune, as Berninger let’s his low voice seep through the microphone and into the listeners ears. This track would be at home on Boxer, but a lyrical wink sets it over the edge for me. he confesses “I can’t fight it anymore, I’m going through an awkward phase.” He’s been going through this phase since the band began in 2001. And thankfully for us, he allows himself to go there and really feel some dark feelings. And because of this, we have what I believe to be the best mood music you can find. Our 3 am’s, our cold city walks, and our night time drives will never be the same.