The NATIONAL – ” Tropic Morning News “

Posted: April 28, 2023 in MUSIC

Nine albums in and The National manage to retain their crown of one of the hardest working, and consistently great bands of a generation. Featuring yet more superb songwriting, expert production and some heavyweight special guest appearances, just like Mary Shelly’s classic novel this might just be the indie-rock stalwart’s very own masterpiece.

The National released a new album, “First Two Pages of Frankenstein“, that features guest artists Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, and Sufjans Stevens, and shared its first single, “Tropic Morning News.” They have also announced some tour dates. “First Two Pages of Frankenstein” is due out April 28th via 4AD Records.

The National’s previous album, “I Am Easy to Find“, came out in 2019 via 4AD. Last year the band shared a new single, “Weird Goodbyes,” which was a collaboration with Bon Iver (the project led by Justin Vernon) but is not featured on the new album.

In a press release, lead singer Matt Berninger says that after “I Am Easy to Find” he found himself in “a very dark spot where I couldn’t come up with lyrics or melodies at all. Even though we’d always been anxious whenever we were working on a record, this was the first time it ever felt like maybe things really had come to an end.”

The National’s guitarist/pianist Bryce Dessner says that the band “managed to come back together and approach everything from a different angle, and because of that we arrived at what feels like a new era for the band.”

The band also features Bryce’s brother Aaron Dessner (guitar/piano/bass), as well as brothers Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).

“Tropic Morning News” was partly recorded live in Hamburg. “When Matt came in with that song in the depths of his depression, it felt like a turning point for us,” says Aaron Dessner. “It’s almost Dylan-esque in its lyrics and it’s so much fun to play; everything suddenly felt like it was coming alive again.”

Berninger co-wrote the song with his wife Carin Besser and the press release says it “takes its title from a phrase Besser invented to describe the regrettably routine practice of doomscrolling.”

Berninger adds: “The idea of referring to the darkness of the news in such a light way unlocked something in me. It became a song about having a hard time expressing yourself, and trying to connect with someone when the noise of the world is drowning out any potential for conversation.”

“This was not an easy album to make. It was the first time it ever felt like maybe things really had come to an end. But at some point there was a feeling of all of us leaning into each other in a new way. We managed to come back together and approach everything from a different angle, letting go of attachment and giving way to what we do best. For all of that, we are so proud of this album and how much it means to us.

Summing up “First Two Pages of Frankenstein” as a whole, Aaron Dessner says: “To me the power of this record has to do with the intentionality and structure of the music meeting with a lot of accidental magic.”

  1. I must have played this album ten times since yesterday. Admittedly I’m off work and enjoying the sunshine but this could be one of the albums to define the year

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