Monday, February 18, 2008

The National: Music for a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape?

Maybe that's over-stating it a bit. But by chance, my ipod in shuffle mode led me to a discovery this morning. I was on my way to work on Presidents' Day (don't ask), and couldn't help but feel weirded out... almost no cars on the street, few people on the sidewalks, absolutely no one waiting for the elevator in our usually packed lobby at work. I realized that The National is the perfect music for wandering a spookily empty city first thing in the morning.

Moody, mopey, whatever, it's not like they try to hide it. Anyway, they're brilliant with layering instruments and constructing interesting rhythms. I've seen them live twice - once when they opened for Arcade Fire - and these Cincinatti boys know how to put on a mesmerizing show. You don't need to know any of the songs in advance to enjoy it; it's that kind of good. They also must have somewhat of a sense of humor, with lyrics like, "They're gonna send us to prison for jerks..."

I'll admit, I know their most recent album,
Boxer, much better than 2005's Alligator. Both are great though. Here are a few of my favorites.

Squalor Victoria
Green Gloves
Fake Empire

I could (and I will!) write another whole post about songs that make a great soundtrack for various activities/moods. It's kind of a hobby. Soon...

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