What is meant by small town depression
The National - Trouble Will Find Me (2013)
- rails at 4AD / Beggars / Indigo-
Even if I should go crazy with this claim: The National are the BVB of soulful indie rock. Just like the (unfortunately!) Newly crowned Westphalian Champions League runner-up, the quintet, founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1999 - and now based in the metropolis of New York - has been a member for years the Critics' favorites. Because just like Borussia Dortmund, The National receives a frenetically acclaimed, deep love from its fans, and a felt meaning that - in the field of popular music - otherwise only stadium attractions such as U2, Muse or Coldplay should have. Singer and front man Matt Berninger wears a Jürgen Klopp memory full beard, and with him, too, another ingenious ulterior motive seems to flash somewhere behind the sometimes grim-looking, sometimes smugly smile. But The National has not yet managed to hit the big hit, the number one hit. Because like BVB they went with their previous five albums - the first, the self-titled debut, was released in 2001, the last one, “High Violet", Was released in 2010, and brought the band the well-deserved international attention - also their very own path - in the conviction that they were doing exactly the right thing ...
In order to finally arrive in the stadium rock league, it would have taken an album that the catchy pieces of “High Violet” would have been even more, more direct Instant hit would have trimmed. And yet The National never were these Kind of tape. Her albums always were Growers. For all its beauty, there was rarely a song that caught the listener right away grabbed. No, you didn't have to listen to their albums nicely - because beauty was always in abundance - but: work on them. And once the magical threshold had been crossed, they became constant companions, acoustic friends that they hugged. To total works of art that can be seen even after years Heavy rotation wasn't tired of it yet. And so almost everything by U2, Muse or Coldplay will outlast with a playful class ...
Even more blatant and obvious to the listener is this secret refusal to take the last step towards the final breakthrough on the new, sixth album “Trouble Will Find Me" on. A solemn ballad as an introduction, which in indolence may only slowly revolve around itself? It's clear! Matt Berninger gives the repentant sinner in the usual great baritone in the first few minutes: "I should live in salt for leaving you behind". "Demons" doesn't do it any differently, in which Berninger seems to be daydreaming and scurrying through the morning Big Apple, lost in thought: "When I think of you in the city / The sight of you among the sites / I get this sudden sinking feeling / Of a man about to fly / Never kept me up before / Now I've been awake for days / I can't fight it anymore / I'm going through an awkward phase / I am secretly in love with / Everyone that I grew up with ". Only in "Don’t Swallow the Cap" does something like airflow come up to the rhythmic drum beats of Bryan Davenport - and yet Berninger doesn’t want to give up bittersweet melancholy from the mug: "Everything I love is on the table / Everything I love is out to sea / I have only two emotions / Careful fear and dead devotion / I can't get the balance right / Throw my marbles in the fight". If you didn't know better as a longtime companion of the band, you would have to seriously worry about the mental health of the singer ... "Fireproof" is The Nationals' tribute to the singer / songwriter Elliott Smith, who died in 2003 - but this is more indirect and based on semi-cryptic Lines like "You're a needle in the hay / You're the water at the door / You're a million miles away / Doesn’t matter anymore " and the mention of a "Jennifer", which could very well mean Smith's last friend Jennifer Chiba (the then 34-year-old is said to have committed suicide after an argument with her), obviously. The current single "Sea Of Love" should be one the Show highlights on “Trouble Will Find Me”. Here, too, Berninger gives the lovesick counter brother to driving the drums - and the album in the lines "If I stay here trouble will find me / If I stay here I'll never leave / If I stay here trouble will find me / I believe" its title - but: hey, how could you like the piano, the harmonica and the background choir, how could you smug sounding line like "I see you rushing now / Tell me how to reach you / I see you rushing now / What did Harvard teach you?" because please Not love? In the pieces that follow, the band continues to lose itself in its quiet gems of guitar, bass, piano, subtle percussion and small background sounds, where every note seems to be in its place, the mood only varies in nuances, and Berninger more than once more prepare the almost perfect basis for his lyrical masterpieces. Would you like more examples? Well, of course! "I don’t need any help to be breakable, believe me / I know nobody else who can laugh along to any kind of joke / I won’t need any help to be lonely when you leave me" (from "Slipped"), "And all the L.A. women / Fall asleep while swimming / I got paid to fish her mind / And then one day I lost the job" (from the slightly rushed west coast market "Humiliation"), "I'm so surprised you want to dance with me now / I was just getting used to living life without you around / I'm so surprised you want to dance with me now / You always said I held you way too high off the ground / You didn't see me I was falling apart / I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park / You didn't see me I was falling apart / I was a television version of a person with a broken heart " (from the longing love fantasy "Pink Rabbits"). However, should - no: got to! - "I Need My Girl" should be mentioned again here, simply because it is one of the simplest and most beautiful, one of the most reduced and touching love songs in recent years. Because I have dearly loved The National for such beautiful pieces for years - please excuse me a certain simplification, but that's the way it is - beautiful pieces! Magic, this is where you are hiding! Speaking of “magic”: the New York band captures it again for a good four minutes in the concluding “Hard To Find”. And Berninger could hardly have chosen a more conciliatory ending: "What I feel now about you then / I'm just glad I can explain / You're beautiful and close and young / In those ways we were the same / There's a lot I've not forgotten / I let go of other things / If I tried they'd probably be / Hard to find ". Love wins - if not without comedy, tragedy and confusion. Even if not without bittersweet footnotes ...
Of course: “Trouble Will Find Me” might at first glance - or when you first listened to it - probably be the most unfavorable album in terms of marketing that The National could have made. Too few of the total of thirteen pieces stand out enough for the big hit through the comfortably gloomy fog, too few uptempo nuances emerge for this. You will love to get an album like this out in the coming autumn - but for the summer, which has not really settled in so far, these songs seem completely unsuitable at first (again: I'm writing here expressly about the success with the "masses"!). And yet “Trouble Will Find Me” is The Nationals “wine album”, and no other drink may go better with the content of these pieces than a good glass of Merlot. And like a good drop, the new songs need time - to mature, to breathe, to develop their effect. Matt Berninger once again proves his class as a lyrical fine spirit, while his band mates, the respective siblings of Aaron and Bryce Dessner (guitars) as well as Bryan (drums) and Scott Davenport (bass), keep their backs stylishly clear for their front man and again for provide the very own band sound (where Bryan Davenport has to be mentioned again, because once again he turns out to be a subtle and rhythmically versed drummer). That a whole armada of total musicians like Sufjan Stevens, Annie Clark (aka. St. Vincent), Sharon Van Etten, Richard Reed Perry (Arcade Fire), Doveman or Nona Marie Invie (Dark Dark Dark) are involved in the background? Free, because as nice as these appearances and exits may be as marginal notes, as much as this information proves the importance that The National itself may now have among colleagues, it is just as unimportant on an album like “Trouble Will Find Me ”, which was again produced by the Dessner brothers themselves.
With their sixth album, which offers a stylish visual stage in the booklet of artworks by friends, acquaintances and relatives, The National are by no means making it easy for themselves. However, one cannot praise a work like “Trouble Will Find Me”, which clearly puts class ahead of fast-moving masses, enough. The latest album by the band from the Big Apple, who recently performed their piece “Sorrow” (from its predecessor “High Violet”) for a full six (!) Hours straight for a New York art exhibition, is one Grower special kind. Of course, Matt Berninger and Co. have again been showered with unanimous critical praise, because if this album, which wraps the listener under a cozy blanket of melancholy big city goose bumps, leaves you completely cold, you must be a dumb stone. Meanwhile, Matt Berninger is Jürgen Klopp again and grins mischievously to himself. Because he also knows that the development of his “heart project” may take two or three years longer - his path is the most beautiful. His way is the most constant. His way is the best.
Here's the latest The National video for what is probably the catchiest track on the album: "Sea Of Love" ...
... as well as a live version of the second, silent album highlight "I Need My Girl", which has been in the band's on / off live repertoire for years (this version is from 2011):
You can also listen to the track "Don’t Swallow The Cap" here:
Rock and roll.
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