thread for i am easy to find, the 2019 album by the national and film by mike mills

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https://static.stereogum.com/uploads/2019/03/the-national-i-am-easy-to-find-1551801830-640x640.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifElv18k2O8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBcVrb-snPk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_aN81SBI3A

feel like this album is special enough that it shouldn't get confined to the trouble will find me thread. the short film is also surprisingly excellent, a meditative and impressionistic coming-of-age narrative dwelling almost exclusively in unnoticed detail. both projects echo and unlock each other

here are a bunch of quoted posts from the other thread that will probably look terrible and be impossible to read

i think this might be the best National album

unfortunately there's not much more in the way of upbeat art-rockers like "You Had Your Soul With You" and the moody midtempo tracks they've always preferred still dominate

― ufo, Monday, May 13, 2019 11:40 PM (four days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Not In Kansas seems a standout on first listen but there's a lot to take in, especially with all the guest vocalists.

Must be a couple of their longest ever tracks on this record too.

― groovypanda, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:30 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i really like "where is her head", the way it builds with all the overlapping vocals is wonderful

the interpolation of thinking fellers union local 282's "noble experiment" in "not in kansas" was quite unexpected but it's nice to be reminded of that

― ufo, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3:03 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i think this might be the best National album

― american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:23 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

as long as it's better than the last one.

― The Pingularity (ledge), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:31 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

it's in many ways a continuation of the last one but lacks a moodbreaker like "turtleneck"

― american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:34 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

holy shit "Not in Kansas": a monologue about Berninger's reminiscing about R.E.M.'s "Begin the Begin."

― recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:37 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

the guest vocalists actually make this thing feel less long than it is

― american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:38 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I do regret that they didn't write a song for "Her Father in the Pool."

― recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:39 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

xps yeah the arrangements are what i like the most about this album, it's probably not their strongest collection of songs but the arrangements are all their best and most interesting they've ever been

"turtleneck" was the worst thing about sleep well beast, completely out of place and also just not very good

the guest vocalists are all very welcome and provide a nice foil for berninger, but none of them have quite the same impact as when gail ann dorsey first comes in on the bridge of "you had your soul with you"

i am probably going to attempt to edit this and sleep well beast down to a single album to finally make a national album that i love the whole way through

― ufo, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:43 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

"the pull of you" is absolutely perfect

― american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 11:52 AM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

first testament was really great
the sequel was incredible
like the godfathers or the first two strokes
every document's indelible

― american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:34 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

"not in kansas" -> "so far so fast" are like the two best national songs ever, right in a row

― american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:41 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

and "oblivions" is the kind of song only they could write

― american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:31 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

There's some lovely stuff on this record. I don't know if it is their best album, but on first listen there is nothing that stands out as a reason why it couldn't be.

― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:23 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Man, "Not In Kansas." It's been ... I don't know how long since I heard a song that made me want to focus on and figure out its lyrics so badly.

― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:30 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

when "Rylan starts, I sing, "Got my mind SET. ON. YOU."

― recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:37 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i like the "flowers of guatamala" reference ("the flowers cover over everything") a couple of verses after "i'm listening to r.e.m. again"

― rip van wanko, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:45 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The contemporary classical bent of whichever one of the brothers is into that stuff really pays off on this album's arrangements.

― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:50 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is so long and so unified in its approach that I'm having a hard time parsing individual songs as opposed to a constantly alternating set of peaks and valleys. which I guess for some will be sort of an apotheosis of Their Thing but I'm not really finding any points of entry beyond a few standout ideas here and there. "You Had Your Soul With You" had me hoping this wouldn't be the case. (as always I reserve the right to change my mind later lol)

― Simon H., Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:09 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

like, there are a ton of sonic ideas here but all of them are incorporated into every single track, y'know? relax!!

― Simon H., Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:10 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Brad, you are getting me very excited about this new album. it's not on Spotify until Friday however.

― Bee OK, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:57 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

They're the most intricately boring band I've ever heard.

― recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, May 14, 2019 8:05 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

"you had your soul with you" is absolutely their best track ever

― ufo, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 8:09 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

simon i have a feeling you’ll like this the more you spend time with it. it wasn’t billed as a double album but it works like one: the songs talk to each other, and it works itself into weird subspaces. oddly i think watching the movie is a way in too, it enriches specific lyrics

― american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:07 AM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i will say the album is more ballad-forward than i expected or hoped but i’ve already adjusted

― american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:08 AM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah same

the only real dud for me is Rylan which i know is apparently a fan favourite because it's been floating around for 8 years or something but it's still them at their most middle-of-the-road even though the arrangement is a lot better than it would have been a decade ago

― ufo, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:49 AM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I think the album is a bundle of good contradictions. It's not really a double album but feels like one, it's ballad heavy but not necessarily chill, it's got some of Matt's best lyrics and singing but he often takes a back seat to other singers and singing, it's got some pretty jarring experimental elements but it's totally MOR. And so on.

Oh, and needless to say, the drumming is incredible.

― Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:52 AM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i love every lyric and sound in "quiet light"

― american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:14 AM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

learning how not to cry every time there's another sad unbearable morning
but sometimes there's nothing i can do
i can't help it

― american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:17 AM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

the drumming on "quiet light" is brilliant, bryan devendorf seems to get better with every album somehow

― ufo, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:23 AM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

wow i REALLY love this album

― american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:09 PM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

https://www.nme.com/news/national-rockier-songs-leftover-may-get-freezer-2488317

apparently they've got a bunch of rockier material left over from the Sleep Well Beast sessions that didn't make this album either since it didn't fit the mood of the film etc. so i hope that'll be more "the system only dreams"/"you had your soul with you" than "turtleneck" whenever it sees the light of day

― ufo, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 10:41 PM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The contemporary classical bent of whichever one of the brothers is into that stuff really pays off on this album's arrangements.

That is Bryce! His own chamber music is def worth checking out

― flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, May 16, 2019 5:07 AM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

it's the way that you're going to stop needing to tell me you want me as much as i want you to

― american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, May 16, 2019 8:56 AM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Their best album.

― recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, May 16, 2019 9:21 AM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yep

― american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, May 16, 2019 9:22 AM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I've never top tenned one of their albums before.

― recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, May 16, 2019 9:24 AM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

me neither, and it usually takes me a while to figure out how i feel about them, cf. the album this thread is named after

― american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, May 16, 2019 9:25 AM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 17 May 2019 13:31 (four months ago) link

This is their best album.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 May 2019 13:57 (four months ago) link

Still having trouble with this one tbh. It might be as simple as being worn out by 63 minutes of "I" lyrics, somehow not helped or diluted by the addition of the female vox.

Simon H., Friday, 17 May 2019 13:59 (four months ago) link

it's their best and by a pretty large margin. it's maybe a little too long - one of the tracks from "roman holiday" through to "i am easy to find" could have been cut since that's a long section all fairly similar in feeling, and "rylan" is a national-by-numbers song that doesn't interest me at all but those are my only real complaints

ufo, Friday, 17 May 2019 14:03 (four months ago) link

The female vox are essential: they dilute the by now rote male angst.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 May 2019 14:03 (four months ago) link

this album is a swimming pool and "so far so fast" is the deep end

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 17 May 2019 14:05 (four months ago) link

The female vox are essential: they dilute the by now rote male angst.

See, I can't shake the feeling they just serve to validate it rather than dilute it.

Simon H., Friday, 17 May 2019 14:06 (four months ago) link

this album is a swimming pool and "so far so fast" is the deep end

― american bradass (BradNelson),

With her father in that pool!

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 17 May 2019 14:07 (four months ago) link

i do kinda wish they'd kept the sax from the early live version of "so far so fast", it sounded wonderful

ufo, Friday, 17 May 2019 14:14 (four months ago) link

https://pitchfork.com/features/song-by-song/the-national-i-am-easy-to-find-interview/

This one is... a lot! There are references to the Strokes, R.E.M., “alt-right opium,” and punching Nazis. There are also several abrupt interruptions that splice in a choral arrangement of “Noble Experiment” by ’90s indie-rock group Thinking Fellers Local Union 282. How did this one originate?

MB: What was the name of the instrumental you sent me, Aaron?

AD: “Everything to Everyone.” [laughs]

MB: That must be what happened—I took it as an invitation. I was walking around this little Danish town north of L.A. that was totally empty and listening to this instrumental on repeat. The music was so addictive. I opened up an email to myself and started writing. The original version is about 10 minutes long and it’s got 17 more stanzas.

How did it get edited down?

MB: It was a good example of our collaborative process with Mike. I told him, “The thing that’s really good about this is its length—its maximalist approach.” And he said, “Totally, I understand.” And two days later, he sent it back with 17 stanzas cut out and that cover of “Noble Experiment” in the middle. It was an example of him listening and understanding what I wanted and then having a better idea.

Do you remember any of the verses he cut?

MB: Yeah, I have them right here. “I’m giving 20s to schizophrenic missing mothers in my neighborhood/Leaning in the door/You’re always asking, ‘Why not ask for more?’” I refer to my Wiccan masseuse, who I also get weed from. Little Caesar’s gets mentioned—I must have been hungry.

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 17 May 2019 14:16 (four months ago) link

“I’m giving 20s to schizophrenic missing mothers in my neighborhood/Leaning in the door/You’re always asking, ‘Why not ask for more?’” I refer to my Wiccan masseuse, who I also get weed from. Little Caesar’s gets mentioned—I must have been hungry.

It's telling that it took a second to realize the second half of this is no longer lyrics but perfectly in character for his lyrics.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 17 May 2019 16:43 (four months ago) link

wouldn't have minded keeping that L Cohen reference. he's always lurking anyway,

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Friday, 17 May 2019 16:53 (four months ago) link

For really superficial reasons, Quiet Life reminds me of Night Shift by the Commodores.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 17 May 2019 16:59 (four months ago) link

great interview with carin besser on contributing lyrics to the last few records https://thecreativeindependent.com/people/writer-carin-besser-on-composing-lyrics-for-the-national/

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 17 May 2019 18:27 (four months ago) link

this will take a while for me to digest but Not in Kansas is probably the most National-y epic I can imagine.

akm, Friday, 17 May 2019 19:29 (four months ago) link

Listened today a few times. Kind of washed over me. A bit corporate and boring though. Trying too hard to be worthy but the songs just aren't there. I can imagine any of these songs sounding good at the start of an Apple presentation, you know the bits where you see the audience before Tim Cook walks onstage.

Fried Egg Sandwich, Saturday, 18 May 2019 17:00 (four months ago) link

vnp

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Saturday, 18 May 2019 19:35 (four months ago) link

I love how this album continually seems to allude to Cohen's Ten New Songs.

Tim F, Monday, 20 May 2019 00:00 (four months ago) link

I am very happily surprised by how great this is

i got bag sauce in my bag (Sufjan Grafton), Tuesday, 21 May 2019 05:11 (three months ago) link

Rylan, you should try to get some sun
There's a little bit of hell in everyone

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 21 May 2019 11:31 (three months ago) link

listening for the first time now, and all the arrangements of gorgeous--'the pull of you' in particular is jaw-dropping. and bryan devendorf is probably the best drummer in contemporary rock ('quiet light' and 'where is her head' stand out here). i think the prevalence of female vocals makes a lot of sense, considering carin besser's heavy contribution to the lyrics. she's credited as the sole lyricist on 'you had your soul with you' and 'hey rosey,' and is credited as a contributor on a few others.

i think ur a controp (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 22 May 2019 20:09 (three months ago) link

listening for the first time now, and all the arrangements of gorgeous all of the arrangements are gorgeous

i think ur a controp (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 22 May 2019 20:09 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...

this album is really good, though for me it tails off after the halfway mark or so, after the uptempo songs. the drumming on the first 5 or 6 tracks is really, really impressive

“not in kansas” sounds like okkervil river covering leonard cohen, and I’m here for it

k3vin k., Wednesday, 5 June 2019 20:09 (three months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQU2XwNhHFk

live performance really exposes what an exquisite song this is

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 15:35 (three months ago) link


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