Artist of the Week – The National

The National Consistently Produce Thrilling Live Shows

The National Picture

There’s an enigmatic Japanese concept, “wabi sabi,” which refers to the representation of beauty, sadness, and the inevitability of death in nature; like cherry blossoms (or “Sakura”), which gloriously bloom, then promptly wither and die – provoking sadness, but leaving behind an appreciation for the fleeting nature of beauty.The Brooklyn-based band, The National, embodies wabi sabi. Through their melancholic lyrics, we remember that sadness and loss are a given in life, but their melodies and choruses remind us that beauty still abounds. Pair that with the thrilling experience of seeing The National live, and you’ve got a no-brainer for our “Artist of the Week.”

The National’s entrancing new album, Trouble Will Find Me, descends from many greats: Radiohead, Wilco, Depeche Mode, and The Smiths, to name a few. Watch the band perform live with “Gracessless” on The Colbert Report or “Don’t Swallow The Cap” for Letterman, and experience how they soothingly weave in each instrument. Between the peaking choruses (seemingly belted by the entire seven-member band), the masterful instrumentation, and the haunting, almost conversational style of the lead singer – somewhere between Johnny Cash and a possessed Neil Diamond – their sound leaves you hypnotized and hooked.

The National, live in Rome

This is a band in its thirteenth year that makes no apologies about their maturity (and indeed openly admitted their age and being “unhip” on The Colbert Report). Thus, Trouble Will Find Me is replete with titles that evoke mature images of the ups and downs of the human condition. It’s the kind of album you listen to when you want to reflect inwardly; meditative, even. The most important of all human emotions (love) and its ultimate consequence (loss), are central themes throughout the album. Titles like “This Is The Last Time,” “I Need My Girl,” and “Sea of Love” all paint pictures of love and loss. Their sound and cult-like following – starting in Brooklyn, their adopted home, and spreading worldwide – serve as a consistent extension of their previous works.

Find them touring the U.S. and Canada from the beginning of September until the middle of October this year. From there, they’re headed to Europe for a month and a half. They’re getting a lot of attention from media and fans worldwide, and their shows are selling out faster than you can click “Like” on Facebook. To get an indication of how thrilling their concerts truly are, check out lead singer Matt Berninger stumble through the crowd as The National perform live…

Want to see The National go all-acoustic? As an added bonus, immerse yourself in NPR’s special recording where the band performed four songs off their new album.

Catch The National in action

Article by Phillip Thompson

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