Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On Getting Laser Eyes

Last week I got Lasik. I was looking forward to not having to deal with glasses getting smudged by my kids or slipping off my face. I figured that not needing them would be pretty convenient. However, the words I heard over and over from other people who'd already done it were: "life-changing." That seemed to be overstating a bit. Convenient, yes, but life-changing? I didn't get it. I get it now. I've had some kind of vision correction, either glasses or contacts, for the last thirty-odd years, which is nearly as far back as I can remember. And what I hadn't realized was the extent to which this had become part of my identity. It's not that I thought glasses were cool because I wore them--although I did and they are. It's that the ability to see was, for me, artificial and temporary. And my vision was pretty bad, so my natural state was one of... not so much "blindness" as "isolation." There was a layer of vagueness that sat bet

100 Album: "Game Of Thrones Season 3 Soundtrack" by Ramin Djawadi

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the  explainer  or view  the master list . Artist:  Ramin Djawadi Title:   Game Of Thrones, Season 3 Soundtrack Released:  2013 Genre:  DAH duh, duh-duh-DAH duh, duh-duh-DAH duh He's not as big a name as Hans Zimmer or John Williams or the various Newmans out there, but Ramin Djawadi is easily the most interesting composer working in television right now (with due respect to Bear McCreary). Soundtracks, especially television soundtracks because they're produced so quickly, have a tendency to serve more as a wall of atmosphere than anything else. But Djawadi's work here and on Westworld  has generated some amazing musical themes. There's a strong undercurrent of leitmotif informing the way the music flows together and the themes those motifs are built around are damned  catchy--which you know if you got the joke in the genre description above. While all of the soundtracks for GoT  are very listenable, this is m

100 Albums: "Fashion Nugget" by Cake

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the  explainer  or view  the master list . Artist:  Cake Title:   Fashion Nugget Released:  1996 Genre:  lo-fi indie alt-rock There was a summer when I was in college that I spent every spare minute playing Super Bomber Man  on the SNES and listening to Cake's Fashion Nugget  (and one other album that I will get to shortly). Cake broke in the late era of grunge with The Distance , a--ahem--driving song about a man racing to get back to his love, or something like that. The metaphor was unclear, but the song was catchy as hell. They followed it up with a cover of I Will Survive  that was much more indicative of Cake's sound: lo-fi vintage guitar, a lead trumpet, John McCrea's deadpan just-off-rhythm singing and sarcastic lyrics, and Victor Damiani's frenetic bass-playing. Fashion Nugget  was independently produced under the ethos of "if you can't make it sound clean, make it sound dirty in an interesti