24 January 2009

A National Post

I really feel like writing a genuine ode to The National right now. I love them so much, there's no way I could put it into words actually. I've said it a million times and I will say it again: I don't know what I did before them. What did I listen to? Where did I go? Who was I?

But the secret is you need some type of life experience in order to appreciate Matt Berninger's incredible, sad voice and you need at least a little maturity to understand his lyrics. Not a day goes by that I do not listen to The National and not a minute goes by when I'm listening to something else that I'm not wishing I was listening to The National instead.

Oftentimes I believe myself to be a decent writer. I like the way I string words together sometimes and occasionally I can find some emotion that I'm impressed by later on but when it comes to something so inexplicable - like why you love your favorite band - words tend to fail me. It seems like I'm learning much more when I'm listening to The National than when I'm in class or at work. Somehow they find the deepest, saddest parts of the human condition and put them on display in such a way that it's hard to reach them. Every time I listen to a National song, I am trying to reach for that top shelf and keep missing - in a good way. They keep you guessing, searching, and wanting more. The hauntingly ironic nature of the lyrics mixed with the strange way every individual instruments seems to come to life is unlike any other contemporary band.

I'm a strong believer in modern music and the fact that there are some fantastic new bands out there if you're willing to search long enough but none will compare to The National. Kings of Leon, another of my favorites, has some incredibly catchy songs filled with melodies that are certainly unique and interesting but can you really put your entire heart into focusing on each instrument? I don't think so. They simply blend. On songs like, "Slow Show", "Squalor Victoria", and dare I even say, "Fashion Coat", The National as a band gives each player their own time to showcase their incendiary talents. I leave "Fashion Coat" for last because I'm not sure that any other song on earth has ever grabbed me the way that one has. It is a two minute song filled with so much greatness that sometimes I have to skip it on my iPod. There is no way I can listen to something like that when I'm on a bus thinking about a school assignment or having a conversation with a friend. A song like that deserves full attention.

I am always so extremely frustrated when those digital jukeboxes at bars (that are supposed to have everything) don't have The National. What kind of world are we living in? Listening to The National at a bar with a beer in hand and heavy emotions in head are the kinds of things that fuel life! When I started this entry I wasn't listening to anything but now "Karen" is blasting out of my work computer's speakers and everything seems a little bit better. How do they do that? This isn't even a happy song... it just makes me happy. It makes me mesmerized.

The National are simply hypnotic.

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