Since I was introduced to the fantastic American indie-band, The National, I’ve never looked back. I cannot imagine my i-pod without them. I sound exactly like the technologically immersed youth that I was brought up to be. This is the generation of i-pods: we need good music to go with them. The National gives that and so much more.
They have been around for a while. But why is it that so few people who I know are aware of them? “Have you heard of The National?” “Pardon? …No..Who are they?” And I feel that sinking feeling the child gets when no one can see their imaginary friend.
Is it because they’re American? And because their popularity has yet to reach the shores of the UK in a massive way? Surely not. They’ve been around since the late 90s/ early 00s . This is what boggles my mind.
Because regardless of the fact that most of their best songs are a few years old, they’ve virtually been swept under the carpet and categorised into ‘what has been’ and overwritten by the ‘what is now’ music. Albeit, they are not perfect. I always find myself showing friends the studio versions of their songs first and ease them into a live version because sadly, Matt Berniger’s voice never seems to be quite as perfect pitch-wise and doesn’t really sell the band as well. Or does he? Because this is what makes them real. What makes them separate to most bands. They are raw and they are natural. They are middle-aged men who like to move people with their lyrics and with their songs about life. Nothing dark, no hidden meanings but just life…their lives.
And The National as a whole hold passion. They hold passion regardless of how ‘perfect’ Matt performs, they have that always.
He may lose his huskiness but he still holds the crowds. He interacts with them and they love it and those in the audiences love The National. Many of the live videos show fans rocking their bodies in beat to the deep melodies.
There is an underlining darkness to The National. It is the mixture of Matt’s deep baritone voice, the lyrics with their underlining meanings, and the mesmerising tempo of the band.
One of my favourites, Bloodbuzz Ohio exemplifies The National’s style:
After watching this music video, I often feel like I too should be a middle-aged man sat at a bar sipping a whisky on the rocks. And muttering the lyrics in a deep, booming voice. But I am not middle-aged, I am not a man and I don’t like whisky.
I do feel like the song gives the listeners a definite ‘bloodbuzz’ of some sort. As do all of their songs. If you listen to it, you too can feel yourself being ‘carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees’.