Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers is the second album by The National. Their sound on this album is a mixture of indie rock and melacholy country. They use the twang of country instruments to cover indie rock subjects. As with any album by The National, Matt Berninger's husky baritone makes everything sad and hazy.

 

A fictional biography of the band, based on Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers:

The National was a bar in Austin, Texas during the late eighties. Their house band was composed of the lead singer, Matt Berninger, and two sets of brothers. They started playing music to get free drinks at the bar and to blow off steam.

Their lead's natural charisma made him a favorite among women, who he often mistreated. He was plagued by two failed marriages and a ten year struggle with alcoholism. His violent outbursts eventually alienated the rest of the members of the band, who refused to work with him anymore.

His solo career was short-lived, and he followed the lead of Ian Curtis of Joy Division, committing suicide.


Cardinal Song

"never tell the one you love that you do
save it for the deathbed"

 

This first song is slow and measured, the sort of song you would slow dance with another man's wife to, near the end.

Never let the ones you love get too close.

 

Slipping Husband

"cause if you don't give her what she needs
she'll get it where she can
she's lonely man
"

 

The next one is faster, more frenetic, like warnings should be. The lead singer swings from singing, to whispering, to shredding his vocal cords screaming. One of my favorite moments on the album.

It is too late to regret your choices; getting some strange won't change anything.

 

90-Mile Water Wall

"Yes I'm listening I'm listening
I can tell that you are serious
You're looking for that hurt look around my mouth
the look of a steep fall
"

 

The guitar is reminiscent of Elliott Smith's first album, without the guitar carrying the melody throughout.

He can handle it being over, and he knows that you're leaving. But he can't stand here for another minute, while you wait for him to tell you that what your doing is right. He can't handle that.

 

It Never Happened

"now I forget how to think
so crack my skull
rearrange me
"

 

A smoothly tragic bar song, which breaks apart halfway through and leaks out the rest.

He has forgotten the horrible things that have happened. All that's left is to forget that he's forgotten.

 

Murder Me Rachael

"murder me Rachael I made a mistake
I loved her to ribbons
"

 

This track is full of ambient dischord and ends with the lead singer wailing, far in the background.

Love can stain, but so can arterial spray.

 

Thirsty

"There's nothing in the air today
now I know I'm not so important
"

 

The lead singer is joined by a female vocalist halfway through. The violin accompaniment is well done.

Maybe it's just not enough.

 

Available

"when the red comes over you
like it does when you're filled with love
or whatever you call it
"

 

Sounds like someone removed the vocals from a Smiths song, and inserted Berninger's voice. Also, Echo and the Bunneyman had a hand in editing.

He enters her, and dies inside of her, and still he knows she is using him.

 

Sugar Wife

"can you make me a man
baby doll can you make me a dad
"

 

Starts off sounding slightly happy, but in a sinister way. The weakest track on the album.

Having children won't solve anything.

 

Trophy Wife

"you tried a piece of everything
now nothing turns you on
"

 

My favorite track on the album, lyrically well-composed.

He has lost all faith in faithfulness.

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