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100 Albums: "Trouble Will Find Me" by The National

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: The National
Title: Trouble Will Find Me
Released: 2013
Genre: indie baritone adult contemporary rock


I love, love, love Matter Berringer's voice. It's smooth, emotive, resonant, and right there in my range so I can sing along without straining. Seriously, I grew up in the era of Nirvana knock-offs who all screeched into microphones, so the idea of someone growling from his chest instead still feels novel to me.

The National are definitely a rock band, but compared to their earlier albums, Trouble Will Find Me is more atmospheric, with guitars and swoop and sparkle instead of crunch and drive. When a song does rush along at a good clip (Humiliation, Sea Of Love), it's being propelled by the drums more than the guitar. The standout track, though, is the ballad I Need My Girl whose video is embedded above. I love the little storytelling vignettes that show up in the lyrics:

Remember when you lost your shit and drove your car into the garden. You got out and said "I'm sorry" to the vines, but no one saw it.

Moments like that are scattered throughout the album, whose lyrics are generally much more about feel than meaning. I mean, if you can understand what the line "I was teething on roses, I was in guns and noses" from Humiliation is about, you're a smarter person than I. It's nearly an hour and it's fairly mellow, so it's an album you'll want to settle in for.

Further Listening: Nothing else in The National's catalog quite lives up to this. The record that preceded it, High Violet is decent. The successor, Sleep Well Best is kind of a mess.

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