The National's new album, and how to live beyond our own bad hearts
“ I got here late and I’m doing all right, but it’s so much less fun than when I was doing everything wrong on purpose.” Put this on a T shirt and sell it to me! (And yes to all of this, I think there are few bands that get the boredom and devastating dustiness of having lived with depression most of your art-making life.)
there was once a perfectly cinematic video (albeit grainy & taken on a phone camera back when they weren’t very good) of two perfect dogs, lounging & sighing in dust mote filled sunbeams in my Pittsburgh living room in 2008 or so while Fake Empire played softly in the background. it was deleted by someone i won’t name & it is a sharp little thorn lodged in my heart that i can see it in my mind but can’t watch it for real ever again. that’s my The National story. all of their music feels like this to me.
In this particular moment, my greatest hope in life is that, by some stroke of absurd luck, a group of authors here on Substack become a new Lost Generation and that 100 years from now this essay is taught in a university classroom with the same mixture of veneration and envy that someone in some classroom today has teaching The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.
Or, being less hyperbolic, this is an amazing essay. Thank you for writing it.
love this so, so much — made The National alive to me, nearly made me cry — would love to see you write more about music
Thanks for writing this. I don't have the eloquence to say much more than this, but this really captures the band in an intimate and fantastic way. Now I will spend the rest of the day celebrating their entire discography.