The National is an American indie rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio. Members include Matt Berninger (vocals), Aaron Dessner (guitar, keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott Devendorf (bass), and Bryan Devendorf (drums). The National released their self-titled debut album, The National (2001), on Brassland Records, an independent record label founded by Dessner and his twin brother, Bryce Dessner.
The ensemble signed with Beggars Banquet Records and released their third studio album, Alligator (2005), to widespread critical acclaim. The band’s fourth and fifth studio albums, Boxer (2007) and High Violet (2010), increased their exposure significantly. In 2013, the band released its sixth studio album, Trouble Will Find Me, which was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. In 2017 the band released the album Sleep Well Beast.
In addition, four of the band’s albums were included on NME’s 2013 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
When I first glanced at the cover art, the first image that surfaced in my mind was film noir. The blend of colors includes gray, jet black, and white hues. Compared to many past albums that were released this year, the object and theme are fairly practical and simple. There is an iconic American barn-like house in the middle of nowhere. However, I can see some human figures through the rectangular window. The title of the album is unique, something that would be written in a fairytale.
“Nobody Else Will Be There,” the first selection of the track, is dark, gloomy, and dreamy. I fell asleep while listening to the head vocal’s raspy and ruffian-like vocals; however, I enjoyed the strong presence of the keyboard accompanying the lyrics. More so, the repetitive statement of “Nobody Else Will Be There” engraves a message that is relatable to almost everyone. There are times people feel alone, in solitude. “Born to Beg” starts out with a metronome background beat and a contagious major melody line on the keyboard. The vocals are more nostalgic, strong, yet grave. “I’ll Still Destroy You” offers a more electronic beat. The incorporation of percussion instruments that mimic the sound of an alarm clock creates a consistent base line. However, after the verses were sung in the beginning, the peak of the song, during the chorus section, escalates with a more vibrant melody and aura. Overall, the album is definitely a collection of distinct blends of color, feeling, sound, and meaning.
The band’s album, Sleep Well Beast, released on September 8, 2017.
Stream The National’s album Sleep Well Beast
You can stream the album via Spotify.
Apple Music Sleep Well Beast Stream
You can stream Sleep Well Beast on Apple Music.
Download Sleep Well Beast
If you like to purchase the album, head on over to iTunes.
Sleep Well Beast Tracklist
- “Nobody Else Will Be There”
- “Day I Die”
- “Walk It Back”
- “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”
- “Born to Beg”
- “Empire Line”
- “I’ll Still Destroy You”
- “Guilty Party”
- “Carin at the Liquor Store”
- “Dark Side of the Gym”
- “Sleep Well Beast”