You need to have a drink. You need to buy your favorite whiskey, come home to a dark house and drink alone tonight. Or you need to go out to a bar that you haven't been to in a long time. One where no one really knows you it won't matter when someone catches you lip-syncing along to a song you don't know that well. It doesn't matter how your life has been lately. It doesn't matter that you finally landed your dream girl; it doesn't matter that you just lost your dream job. Your soundtrack for tonight is The National. You're going to thank me for this later.
The National formed in circa 1991 Cincinnati. Back then they were going by the moniker of Nancy, and were just five guys in college, playing in a basement and trying to sound like their grunge band heroes.
As the group graduated college and matured, their paths transcended from their roots in Ohio. Four of the five members of Nancy decided at this time that they would make the move to Brooklyn and see what waited there.
After arriving in Brooklyn, the group known as Nancy dissolved. In 1999, Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf, of the original five, became associated musically with brothers Bryce and Aaron Dessner, childhood friends of Scott. Also joining in at the time was Scott's brother, Bryan Devendorf. At this time they named themselves The National and began entertaining New York audiences at the Luna Lounge in the Lower East Side.
Working day jobs and highly associated with the dot-com boom in New York City during the late 1990s, The National put in late nights and long weekends to record their self-titled debut album. It was released in 2001. The record was met with much critical acclaim.
In the following years they would record three more albums, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003), Alligator (2005), and Boxer (2007). All received high honors and both Alligator and Boxer have been mentioned by several aficionados as candidates for album of the decade
In 2008 their song "Fake Empire" from their album Boxer was selected for use by the Obama campaign. The band became affiliated with the Democratic party and their national convention and played live at the convention and at several rallies in support of Obama. This relationship continues currently, and the band played a venue during the 2010 mid-term elections where Obama was to give a speech.
The band released High Violet in 2010. Once again, audiophiles around the nation celebrated The National's work.
Their songs are rich with melody and their lyrics are a tangled mess of emotion that leave you lonely and full and seething and feeling lucky all at the same time. They are the type of songs that make you ache for reasons that you can never quite put your finger on. They are songs to get whiskey drunk to and stumble your way around a familiar place becoming all too unfamiliar.
The National is:
Matt Berninger -vocalist and lyricist
Aaron Dessner- bassist and guitarist
Bryce Dessner- guitarist
Bryan Devendorf- drummer
Scott Devendorf- bassist and guitarist
The National (2001)
Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003)
High Violet (2010)
Cherry Tree (2004)
The Virginia EP (2008)
Track listing for The National (self-titled debut):
1. Beautiful Head
2. Cold Girl Fever
3. The Perfect Song
4. American Mary
6. Pay for Me
7. Bitters & Absolut
8. John's Star
9. Watching You Well
10. Theory of the Crows
11. 29 Years (later rejuvinated in the song "Slow Show" on the Boxer album)
12. Anna Freud