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I’ll say the same thing about ‘Pink Rabbits’ that I said about ‘Conversation 16’ back in 2010: if you still haven’t heard The National’s best song to date, then you are depriving yourself of the year’s best moment. It seems like every time this band puts out an album, there is one track on it that is arguably better than anything else released within the same 365 days: ‘Mr. November’, ‘Apartment Story’, ‘Conversation 16’…and now, ‘Pink Rabbits.’ What all these songs have in common is accessibility, propelled by underlying emotional turmoil that prevents them from sounding watered down. I would say that’s their formula, or something else intelligent-sounding, but honestly The National just do whatever the fuck they want and excel at it with relative ease.

Here, they go the route of the sedated pop ballad. The song is so perfectly constructed that it doesn’t matter what Matt Berninger is singing about, but as usual, he has paired top-of-the-line musicianship with phenomenal lyrics. The meaning of the song is somewhat ambiguous, especially when it comes to determining whether it was written from the perspective of a guy – “I’m so surprised you want to dance with me now, you always said I held you way too high off the ground” – or from a girl – “You didn’t see me I was falling apart, I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park”, but either way it’s ridiculously poignant. From the guy’s perspective, I can’t help but relate to Berninger’s borderline-tragic realization; I mean here’s a guy who has apparently just gotten used to living life without the girl he loves, and she appears in the midst of his healing process to request a dance that, if my experience is any indication, will set him back months in his recovery process. He goes on to lament, “I was coming back from what seemed like a ruin, I couldn’t see you coming so far – I just turn around and there you are.” It’s the kind of feeling that anyone with a broken heart can relate to.

That’s one way of looking at it. The other is that the dance is a form of closure to a relationship that lacked that essential moment and kept Berninger from moving on, as is indicated by the first few lines, “I couldn’t find quiet I went out in the rain, I was just soakin’ my head to unrattle my brain. Somebody said you disappeared in a crowd, I didn’t understand then, I don’t understand now.” I prefer this viewpoint because it’s slightly less depressing, but there’s pristine beauty in this song no matter how you perceive the lyrics. ‘Pink Rabbits’ is just that type of song – one that has become so rare because of copycat musicians – but manages to take an overdone musical topic and present it in a wholeheartedly refreshing light. I honestly can’t think of a song that is similar to ‘Pink Rabbits’, and I hope that it stays that way. The National aren’t one of the most important bands of our generation for no reason…it’s songs like these that transcend time and become engraved in our memories. The National have written a goddamned lot of timeless masterpieces, but this just might be their best. If you haven’t taken five minutes to listen to this song yet, do yourself a favor and click on the video below.

Warning: This song will make you feel





SowingSeason
07.19.13
Just catching up on a track that I meant to talk about a long time ago. This is currently my song of the year.

Omaha
07.19.13
It's sowing season, everybody-- get them seed drills ready

clercqie
07.19.13
Cool. Although I wouldn't say it's the best they've done, or even the best on the album. But don't ask me what is, because I haven't got a clue.

SowingSeason
07.19.13
Everything they do is the best thing they've ever done.

clercqie
07.19.13
Very true.

Nice read btw.

Kingofdudes
07.19.13
The version they played during their Tiny Desk Concert for NPR was fantastic.

http://www.npr.org/event/music/190382702/the-national-tiny-desk-concert
Skip to 9 minutes in to hear it.

wacknizzle
07.19.13
Maybe I was wrong about this band, song definitely brings the feels hard. I can dig Sowing.

YourDarkAffected
07.19.13
agree so hard. From 3:13 to the end is quite possibly my favorite moment in the National's discography, and easily the best moment on the record.

Underflow
07.20.13
Great write up, Pink Rabbits is certainly one of The National's best songs to date.

Artuma
07.20.13
fuck yeah song rules

Aids
07.20.13
super good write-up man, you nailed it

one of my favourites from the new album, however I wouldn't say it's their best song. You do make a strong case for it though.

tommygun
07.20.13
cracking tune yea

Artuma
07.20.13
i was a television version of a person with a broken heart

Captain North
07.20.13
Honestly, this is one of my least favourite tracks on the album. Beringers performance is fantastic, as are his lyrics, but this is one of the few moments where the instruments falter a bit

Captain North
07.20.13
That being said, this album is close to a 5 for me, so it's still a great song.

insomniac15
07.20.13
Lovely write-up. The whole album is so good and there are so many strong tracks.

Chrisjon89
07.20.13
far and away my favourite on that album.

InfamousGrouse
07.20.13
best song ever

Lucid
07.20.13
that white girl line is just a metaphor, think you're misreading by identifying any gender perspective through it

Crawl
07.20.13
Agreed with first paragraph, except I think Graceless > Pink Rabbits

Photon
07.20.13
yeah this is second best to Graceless

SowingSeason
07.20.13
I don't mind that the instruments aren't as prominent in this...it works better for the song.

And Graceless is amazing too, there's no arguing that one.

Eko
07.20.13
this and Fireproof are the two songs that I don't get on TWFM... but this one I think I might actually "get" someday

SowingSeason
07.20.13
Ha Fireproof is another one that I really like. Damn, Eko.

PuddlesPuddles
07.20.13
Whaaaa, I don't know how this song is unliked and ungotten. It was pretty resonant and immediate the first time I heard it, personally

STOP SHOUTING!
07.20.13
the song construction is weird, it seems to develop into about three different codas. but it's great. and nice article.

SowingSeason
07.20.13
Agreed puddles, it's very easy to get into.

Thanks Stop Shouting, and I agree that certain parts feel disjointed but holy shit all of it is awesome

YourDarkAffected
07.20.13
I think the second half of this album is far superior to the first. Humiliation has an awesome 80s kinda feel to it. Although, I Should Live in Salt and Don't Swallow the Cap are awesome


Aids
07.20.13
see there's a reason my review for this starts off by talking about this song. I think we kind of picked up on the same thing Sowing.

SowingSeason
07.20.13
I remember loving your review of this album, so you're probably right in that we perceived it similarly

Gyromania
07.20.13
i kinda sorta broke down while listening to this in public the other day. no shame. one of those moments where everything hit me all at once.

we seem to have different favourites from album to album - secret meeting, fake empire, sorrow, and this is the last time are mine - but pink rabbits is definitely a really, really good song. 'poignant' sums it up nicely

Captain North
07.21.13
I Need My Girl is my personal pick, besides that damn guitar the lyrics resonate pretty hard.

tommygun
07.21.13
agreed need my girl is best

Irving
07.21.13
I still can't get over the fact that they have a line in this album that goes, "I was teething on roses/I was in guns and noses."

WTH

Then again you DID say "but honestly The National just do whatever the fuck they want and excel at it with relative ease"....they totally do, dawg.

jefflebowski
07.21.13
this song has a really strange construction, it kinda drifts from section to section without repeating many of them - there's like 6 or 7 different distinct ones throughout the song

Eko
07.21.13
Sea of Love and I Need My Girl are my favorites on here at the moment but that's changed many times

ti0n
07.21.13
I Need My Girl lost its charm pretty quick and is one of the albums weaker songs. Agreeing hard on Pink Rabbits being best song on the album.

klap
07.21.13
it's weird to me that people think apartment story is better than slow show

Gyromania
07.21.13
^ agreed

Aids
07.22.13
Irving I'm looking for this specific article where they talk about that lyric and how it means literally nothing and is stupid as fuck and they just left it in to see if people would take it seriously if he sang it in that dead-pan monotone of his. klap do you remember which site that interview/article was on?

tommygun
07.22.13
people who worship an artist too hard will always find crazy ass ways to project meaning onto something meaningless like that... good on these dudes for fuckin with em

Irving
07.22.13
@ Aids: Wasn't it by the BBC?

klap
07.22.13
it's a grantland article http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9273624/an-afternoon-national-eve-release-their-album-trouble-find-me

InfamousGrouse
07.22.13
That's a very nice read, ta for sharing

NightProwler
07.22.13
Very cool read, love the song. Thanks for sharing!

Irving
07.22.13
Ahahahhaa okay suitably embarrassed now thanks Klap XD

Anthracks
07.22.13
apartment story and conversation 16...seriously?

SowingSeason
07.22.13
Yeah, they're great songs

PuddlesPuddles
07.22.13
The National Drink Mixer's Guide: On the Rocks and In Despair

Skoj
07.23.13
Entire review was spot on. Pink Rabbits SotY and Trouble Will Find Me AotY. They're goddamned brilliant.

Irving
07.23.13
But Black Skinhead!!!

tommygun
07.23.13
nah

SowingSeason
07.23.13
Good song Irving but better than the national? Seriously?

Irving
07.23.13
Umh, yea.

Pretty please? =S

SowingSeason
07.24.13
Aww I can't say no to you!

cinaedus
07.31.13
when those warm synths come in and "now i only think about los angeles when the sun kicks out"

fuck. probably the best national moment.

ti0n
08.03.13
^
yess

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