There was euphoria all around when The National finally released a new song last August: It's about letting go of the past, only to be overwhelmed by memories on second thought, by the loss of innocence and the sadness of our strange partings. That "Weird Goodbyes" has immediately become a duet with Bon Iver is all the more beautiful. The deep baritone of Matt Berninger and the soft timbre of Justin Vernon model the melancholy of the track very nicely and fit together as perfectly as the sound of the two bands. But it's even nicer that The National announced at the same time that the single is also a harbinger for the upcoming ninth studio album.
New album: "First Two Pages of Frankenstein"
"First Two Pages of Frankenstein" will be released at the end of April and despite all the glorious successes as a band - including a Grammy for the album "Sleep Well Beast" as well as countless sold-out tours around the globe - the road to the finished album was not an easy one. Singer and lyricist Matt Berninger found himself facing a writer's block that dragged on for several months and seemed to have no end. So the band put songwriting aside for the time being and focused on their interpersonal relationships in order to find each other again as a band on another level, away from the professional context. The album title remains as a relic of that time: whenever Berninger can't find the words, he reaches for his favorite books for inspiration, and so Mary Shelley's classic recalls this episode of The National. As soon as the band was able to tour again for the first time in 2022 after the long pandemic-induced hiatus, the ideas and lyrics just bubbled out of Berninger, producing a plethora of new songs at lightning speed, most of which were recorded at Long Pond Studio in the Hudson Valley. Some tracks were also recorded as fragments at soundchecks or, like the song "Tropic Morning News," at the concert in Hamburg last summer, and combine their sketchy character with the unique darkly melancholic atmosphere that has always been so characteristic of The National.
In addition to the vulnerable lyrics of Matt Berninger and the sophisticated and sprawling music of the two brother pairs Dessner and Devendorf, there are again several well-known guests on the album: Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers or Sufjan Stevens lend their voices and thus help the songs to even more facets.
Tour in the Pall: The National Play in Berlin
Next fall, the new songs will finally be presented on tour in a befitting manner and, together with the band's broad back catalog, will ensure happy fans at two exclusive shows in Berlin and Munich. They will be supported by Bartees Strange, who first attracted attention with an EP full of The National cover songs in 2020. Since then, two independent albums have been released and Bartees Strange has meanwhile also found his label home at 4AD. With his mix of indie rock and 00s R'n'B references, the artist will set the mood perfectly for The National.
Runtime: Sat, 30/09/2023 to Sun, 01/10/2023