The National Is Boring
After many a listen and conversation, I’ve made up my mind in regards to The National: a boring waste of time. All their songs are the same mid-tempo balladry. Any interesting musical diversity in their earlier work was lost when they left their alt-country roots for repetitious dreck. There’s a dulling sameness to everything they put out, musically and lyrically.
I find it impossible to remember how any of their songs go, despite listening to albums multiple times. The only one I can approximate (aside from my ‘favorite’ track) is “I Should Live in Salt,” but of course I can’t sing along to it because Berninger mumbles his way through. Owen Pallett may have said it best, noting that “The National is the ultimate ‘They suck! except for that one song’ band, and that song is different for everyone.” For me, that song is “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks,” because The National’s form of music making actually works in favor for the song: slow layering to make a grand album ending song. Of course, all of The National’s songs sound like slow emotional songs to cap off an album, but they rarely do anything except crawl limply out of the speakers.
I look back at my eager optimism in my past writings with a sense of shame. Was I so excited to jump on the bandwagon I purposefully dulled my critical edge? Pretty much.