The National
Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers


3.5
great

Review

by Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov USER (4 Reviews)
July 7th, 2009 | 74 replies | 17,682 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This album is a loose collection of the ideas that would blossom on Alligator and Boxer.

3 of 4 thought this review was well written

The National's Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers was released in 2003 on Brassland Records.

The first album I ever heard by The National was 2007's Boxer. I loved the album almost immediately, and soon after that I picked up 2005's critically acclaimed Alligator and I also really enjoyed that album. I since decided to look into the National's earlier music, and I started with this.

Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers is a different album to Boxer or Alligator. It has more of an experimental attitude, which is evident on songs like "90 Mile Water Wall" and "It Never Happened", both of which have a country tinge to them,(think Wilco) as well as "Patterns Of Fairy Tales" which has electric blips and synthesizers, which are not very present in their later work.

Another thing I came across in Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers was sort of an amalgam of ideas that would come to fruition in their later works. Songs like "Slipping Husband" and "Available" evolved into songs like "Abel" and "Mr.November" off Alligator. "Fashion Coat" is similar to "Lit Up", also off Alligator. "90 Mile Water Wall" and "Lucky You" were the precursors to songs like Boxer's Green Gloves".

Not all the musically ancestral traits of Alligator and Boxer were in the songs, but the musicians as well. In their later releases, The drums are an integral part of the music, often leading tracks like "Squalor Victoria" off Boxer and Alligator's "Abel". In this album he takes more of a conventional drumming role, staying in the background, occasionally showing glimmers of brilliance in "Slipping Husband" and "Murder Me Rachael". For someone who was introduced to the National by their later stuff, it almost seems like a different drummer completely.

While Boxer and[ i]Alligator[/i] had their low points, they never had a track that was really "bad". However, there are times when Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers falls flat on it's face. The first is "Thirsty" which is four minutes of the narrator whining to us about his "dumbass brain" and then "Sugar Wife" which is just not very good. "Trophy Wife" just feels like filler, and "Cardinal Song" is not bad, it just tends to drag at times.

This album has it's highs as well. "Slipping Husband" and "Available" are classic National rockers, complete with driving drums and Berninger's manic screaming.
"90 Mile Water Wall" , and "Fashion Coat" are also brilliant tracks, and "It Never Happened" and "Murder Me Rachael" certainly aren't bad at all.

In conclusion, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers is an interesting glimpse int the National before they released two consecutive indie rock staples. it is an above average album and worth obtaining.


user ratings (377)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Dotmats (4.5)
A character assassination dressed up as a break-up record....

Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Jesus Christ you have confused me......


Comments:Add a Comment 
shade
July 7th 2009



1198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

italicizing is a bitch

handoman
July 8th 2009



2380 Comments


gay band

shade
July 9th 2009



1198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Constructive criticism please. I tried not doing a track by track this time.

Knott-
Emeritus
July 9th 2009



10193 Comments


eugh idk why but i can't get into this, i heart boxer and alligator with all my soul but this just aint clicking.

few things:

- different TO*, not than
- first sentence of 4th para makes no sense :p
- could've done with a bit of input on the lyrics since they're part of the draw to the band
- little bit of proofreading

but all in all a damn good review. i have a great idea what to expect from the record (or would, if i hadnt heard it already haha) and the 3rd/6th paragraphs are particularly good. great stuff.

shade
July 9th 2009



1198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks

Kashmir09
November 5th 2009



772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules hard; true it's no Alligator or Boxer, but it's right in line. I also love their self titled debut, they're just great

natey
May 4th 2010



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Available" is awesome

porch
May 4th 2010



8390 Comments


this isn't good

Kiran
Emeritus
May 4th 2010



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

90-mile water wall is my fav

im lookin for a trap door trigger
to drop me out of your view

focksy
May 20th 2010



437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

on par with alligator, u guys mad

Skimaskcheck
July 25th 2010



2360 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i like the bit when he gets angry

AnotherBrick
December 2nd 2010



9766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hmmmm may like this more than alligator

thatoneguy726
December 14th 2010



1625 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

definitely continue on to this from alligator?

EVedder27
December 14th 2010



6088 Comments


yeah alligator is like this but better. available is so awesome

robin
Emeritus
December 17th 2010



4221 Comments


this is really starting to click with me in a big way.

couldwinarabbit
December 22nd 2010



6996 Comments


this is so much better than high violet. Like this has weak tracks but it has 4 amazing amazing songs. Plus matt screams on slipping husband and matt screaming is the best thing ever.

DiceMan
December 22nd 2010



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

90 Mile Waterwall is an amazing song.

couldwinarabbit
December 22nd 2010



6996 Comments


cardinal song and lucky are my favourites.

CelestialDust
February 9th 2011



3155 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

imo this is an essential national album

CelestialDust
March 2nd 2011



3155 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why do you dress me down WHY DO YOU DRESS ME DOWN

DRESS ME DOWN
WHY DO YOU DRESS ME DOWN



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