The National (Poll)

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The National is an American rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio, formed in 1999. The band consists of Matt Berninger (vocals), Aaron Dessner (guitar, piano, keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar, piano, keyboards), Scott Devendorf (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Alligator (2005) 13
Boxer (2007) 13
High Violet (2010) 8
I Am Easy to Find (2019)[60] 7
Trouble Will Find Me (2013) 6
Sleep Well Beast (2017) 3
Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003) 2
The National (2001) 0


Trϵϵship, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 23:12 (two months ago) link

I only got into this band's recordings well after they'd become successful and kind of absorbed them all simultaneously and I really love Sad Songs most of all

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 23:49 (two months ago) link

right now my standings are

Trouble Will Find Me
Boxer
High Violet
Alligator
I Am Easy to Find
Sad Songs
Sleep Well Beast
s/t

Simon H., Wednesday, 12 June 2019 00:15 (two months ago) link

I decided to poll this because, for me, boxer, high violet and trouble will find me are equally essential. I’m not even sure which one i like best!

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 01:02 (two months ago) link

Vanderlyle, Crybaby Geeks can get the tears going but so can Pink Rabbits and so can Anyone’s Ghost

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 01:03 (two months ago) link

Nothing I've head by this band has been as good as that song used in (or possibly done for) the video game 'Portal'. Can someone tell me what to head for for stuff that sounds like that?

S-, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 01:29 (two months ago) link

1. i am easy to find: album is an emotional gauntlet for me at this point, perfectly-framed anxiety and mourning for a disappearing world
2. trouble will find me: also makes me cry but just mainly at the end ("pink rabbits"->"hard to find"). every song is like the ultimate national song, each seemingly constructed from band interplay, all these neat little ideas curving into and away from each other, the drumming always awesome
3. boxer: great songs and they finally figured out production
4. alligator: great songs and they hadn't figured out production
5. sleep well beast: uneven but when it's good it's astonishing
6. high violet: great songs but they're hitting the wall of their production
7. sad songs: idk
8. the national: idk

american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 01:39 (two months ago) link

Interesting! The new one at #1. I need to spend more time with it. I loved a few of the tracks on my first go around but it’s hard to compare to albums that have been essential listeninf to me for 5-10 years

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 01:44 (two months ago) link

In grad school i had a radio show and played mr november once and a friend was pretty interested i remember—asked me what it was. I don’t sleep on alligator

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 01:45 (two months ago) link

it's pretty easily I Am Easy to Find at #1 for me, idk how i'd rank the rest except that the s/t is at the bottom obviously as the rest of their albums all have pretty obvious flaws but in different ways. i'd probably put the Cherry Tree EP at #2 and High Violet close to the bottom though.

i haven't listened to Sad Songs in forever so will have to revisit.
Alligator has some of their best songs but it's a bit inconsistent and doesn't hold together that well, and as brad says the production's not great.
Boxer is maybe their most solid front-to-back but it's also just a bit boring in how restrained it is overall. they're good at what they do on it but i don't really ever want to listen to it these days.
High Violet is one of their weakest, the songs aren't as strong as the previous two ("Anyone's Ghost" and "Lemonworld" are pretty weak especially) and the production ends up really muddy, it's not really clean-sounding enough to work with all the orchestration i think.
Trouble Will Find Me is a weird one with all the unusual time signatures and song structures, but it's probably one of their strongest. "Fireproof" and "Heavenfaced" don't do much for me but the rest is all good to great.
half of Sleep Well Beast is their very best work and the other half is as boring as they've ever been so idk what to make of it overall

ufo, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 04:03 (two months ago) link

I am struggling with the new one, I know it's all serious and mature and superbly crafted but it's just not grabbing me emotionally. Can't decide between High Violet and Trouble; can't say I've noticed the bad production on HV and the songs on each are equally strong. If this were a poll of all their tracks I'd probably vote for Bloodbuzz Ohio (and Lemonworld is great!)

Nothing I've head by this band has been as good as that song used in (or possibly done for) the video game 'Portal'. Can someone tell me what to head for for stuff that sounds like that?

It's good but it doesn't sound out of place for its era, I'd give High Violet a go, especially the last two tracks.

The Pingularity (ledge), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 08:47 (two months ago) link

There are better songs on the other albums, but Boxer is the best collection of songs they've put out, and the only album with no weak tracks.

Steve Reich In The Afternoon (Against The 80s), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 09:16 (two months ago) link

"Anyone's Ghost"... is) pretty weak especially

!

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 09:56 (two months ago) link

it's just so plodding without anything interesting happening and the melody is pretty dull

ufo, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 11:14 (two months ago) link

The new one IS their best, followed by High Violet, Boxer, Trouble Will Find Me.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 11:15 (two months ago) link

It is and will probably always will be 'Sad Songs' for me, with 'Trouble' a close second. Not cracked the new one yet.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 11:17 (two months ago) link

"lemonworld" is the best song on hv

american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 11:23 (two months ago) link

Otm

Jeff the grown man (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 11:26 (two months ago) link

xp to self meant HV instead of 'Trouble'

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 11:30 (two months ago) link

"lemonworld" is the best song on hv

and one of their best full stop!

Simon H., Wednesday, 12 June 2019 12:52 (two months ago) link

summer lovin' torture party :)

J. Sam, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 12:55 (two months ago) link

i just listened to the new one for the first time today, not sure about it yet.

i'm a Boxer fan but will try all albums before voting.

Bee OK, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 23:47 (two months ago) link

co-signing the lemonworld love, high violet is probably the national album that i've spent the most time with, but alligator has always been my favorite. trouble will find me and i am easy to find are stiff competition too.

the national are a good band.

Jeff the grown man (voodoo chili), Thursday, 13 June 2019 03:02 (two months ago) link

Alligator, with Boxer and High Violet close seconds.

pomenitul, Thursday, 13 June 2019 08:51 (two months ago) link

I'm not a massive fan, but my wife is, so I've heard all the records (bar the first two - neither of us have ever gone back pre-Alligator) and seen them live several times.

Boxer is my favourite, followed by High Violet and then Alligator. After that they get slightly too restrained and ornate for me. I still like them, and there are songs on each subsequent album that I think are really good, but it's definitely Boxer. Concise, punchy, strong songs all the way through, becoming more sophisticated but not yet too much filigree.

Lemonworld is very good, though I never got what it means. But that's not unusual.

I'd rate High Violet more if the opening track wasn't the most horrific sonic artefact I've ever come across. Really like the song, love it live, but the album version gives me a headache inside seconds. Don't know wtf they were doing with it.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 13 June 2019 12:59 (two months ago) link

They released an alternate version that was much better

groovypanda, Thursday, 13 June 2019 13:05 (two months ago) link

Funny how that is still one of the main criticisms of High Violet... I just thought they were going for a lo-fi thing?

Evan, Thursday, 13 June 2019 13:05 (two months ago) link

Don't know wtf they were doing with it.

― Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, June 13, 2019 5:59 AM (forty minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

feel like it's an extreme case of getting attached to the demo

american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, 13 June 2019 13:40 (two months ago) link

Gotta go with High Violet--for me their most consistent set of songs, and the muted production gives off a cozy floating-in-amniotic-fluid vibe.

J. Sam, Thursday, 13 June 2019 14:28 (two months ago) link

"England" remains my favorite of their closers. It sounds like a lost John Cale ballad.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 13 June 2019 14:33 (two months ago) link

England is a thing of loveliness, but it's not the closer...

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 13 June 2019 14:35 (two months ago) link

neither recorded version of "terrible love" really works unfortunately. the album version is a mostly just lo-fi a demo when it should really sound huge, being one of their anthemic songs. the alt version is a lot better but doesn't quite get the fuzzy guitar in the intro right, which is why they eventually just put the demo on the album iirc. idk why they struggled so much with that guitar sound though because in live versions they seem to get it right

ufo, Thursday, 13 June 2019 15:14 (two months ago) link

xp yeah, i will not stand for this vanderlyle crybaby erasure

Jeff the grown man (voodoo chili), Thursday, 13 June 2019 15:18 (two months ago) link

I have to live with an album for at least a couple of years before being bold enough to say it's my favourite of a band's catalogue. So, Boxer.

My favourite National closer is Lucky You off Sad Songs.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Thursday, 13 June 2019 15:32 (two months ago) link

Boxer and High Violet came out when I was 17 and 20 respectively, so I guess I'm biased towards them because that's when I first discovered the band and I have tons of emotional luggage associated with these two records, for better or worse. I really like Alligator and Trouble Will Find Me, too. Haven't really delved properly into the new one yet apart from a casual listen or two, but what I heard sounded better than Sleep Well Beast which, apart from a couple of tracks, seemed a bit sedate to my ears.

I think Boxer might be a stronger record overall but High Violet perhaps has higher peaks and for that it takes the crown. (I also cheated and replaced the album version of "Terrible Love" with the alternative one in my music library, Spotify playlist, car CD etc.)

ˈʌglɪɪst preɪ, Thursday, 13 June 2019 15:38 (two months ago) link

high violet from bloodbuzz to the end definitely devastated 20-year-old me, and it still hits me pretty hard. i appreciated boxer, but never *felt* it in the way i did violet. alligator is a different story, cause they definitely hadn't quite figured out their thing yet, but the highlights from that album are still my very favorite songs in their catalog (abel, all the wine, mr november, and especially geese of beverly road)

Jeff the grown man (voodoo chili), Thursday, 13 June 2019 15:40 (two months ago) link

slow show (on boxer) is such a powerful song

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 13 June 2019 15:41 (two months ago) link

I bloody love Geese of Beverley Road. It's one of those songs that I kind of intuitively understood before finding out that the 'geese' in the title are car alarms. There's something ugly about the whole 'come be my waitress' coda but I've always given Berninger a pass because he's 'in character'. Christ, Soho Riots is on there too. Maybe it's Alligator after all.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Thursday, 13 June 2019 15:43 (two months ago) link

you know i say i never *felt* boxer, but i certainly did feel 'start a war' and 'fake empire' and 'slow show'--maybe boxer is a little too stately for my ideal the national...gonna have to listen again

Jeff the grown man (voodoo chili), Thursday, 13 June 2019 15:44 (two months ago) link

trouble will find me because it has pink rabbits

flappy bird, Thursday, 13 June 2019 18:08 (two months ago) link

xp yeah, i will not stand for this vanderlyle crybaby erasure

― Jeff the grown man (voodoo chili), Thursday

lol my mind wiped that terrible title

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 13 June 2019 18:09 (two months ago) link

“geese of beverly road” was a huge highlight of their set last night

american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, 13 June 2019 18:12 (two months ago) link

None of you people have heard Sad Songs? It's very very good!

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:05 (two months ago) link

they say so much!

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:06 (two months ago) link

"Geese" is wonderful. I find Alligator a little patchier than most seem to, though.

Simon H., Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:09 (two months ago) link

the lyrics of "geese" are perfect

american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:10 (two months ago) link

i used to think alligator was a little patchy but every song grew on me over a weirdly long period of time

the run from "all the wine" until the end is so good

american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:13 (two months ago) link

I haven't listened to Sad Songs in... probably ten years? I need to give it a spin.

Also, shout out to the Cherry Tree EP in general and "About Today" in particular.

ˈʌglɪɪst preɪ, Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:15 (two months ago) link

agreed, those are five of my favorite national songs.

xp

old cloud yells at man (voodoo chili), Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:16 (two months ago) link

None of you people have heard Sad Songs? It's very very good!

― flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, June 13, 2019 9:05 PM (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Do you have me kill-filed? It's my favourite! Mundane choice because it's my first love. I saw them sweating it out on that tour, for an audience of about 300 in Amsterdam, and it was a tough night for them, but they won over the audience. And me. The record: the songs are the most timeless out of their whole oeuvre. But I'll immediately admit this is a way too personal view on their discog. But I can't see it otherwise. I was there, then, and 'Sad Songs' etched into my brain and remains there and I don't hear it often now but I love it.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 13 June 2019 21:57 (two months ago) link

I love Alligator and Boxer equally. I almost consider them of a piece. Things become more scattershot after, imo. Sometimes brilliantly, sometimes just OK. Rarely (if ever?) terrible.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 13 June 2019 22:43 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 00:01 (one month ago) link

alligator it is

mott the hoopleheads (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 00:13 (one month ago) link

Alligator is one of my favorite records by anyone ever.
I think the rest of their records are OK but Alligator is very special to me.

I'm so sorry but the motorcade'll have to go around me this time

cwkiii, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 01:52 (one month ago) link

Boxer then High Violet

Dinsdale, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 04:48 (one month ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 4 July 2019 00:01 (one month ago) link

amazing

american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, 4 July 2019 03:48 (one month ago) link

TWFM robbed!!!

Simon H., Thursday, 4 July 2019 03:54 (one month ago) link


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