Review Summary: Another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults
As far as I am concerned, change is the only constant. Not only does the world around us change from second to second, day to day, year to year, etc; but we change with it. We change from kids to adults. Sure, every kid bitches about his trials and tribulations while in high school, only a few years later to wish that he still had those same problems instead of a mountain of bills, a job, and an ever distancing circle of friends. The National's Boxer
is a chronicle of the in between: the angst and uncertainty of those in their 20's, trying to hold on to the vibrant memories of their teenage years while coming to terms with their futures.
smolders like the final ember of a great fire, drifting alone in the wind, waiting for the chance to explode and be reborn again. Its weight lies not in the sonic presence of what is presented, but in the character and spirit of what burns beneath it. Matthew Berninger's battered and bruised baritone achingly occupies the thin red line between the intimate and the political, casting the notion that they are an interwoven force that we drift along in just like space and time, controlling every facet of who we are, and what we wish we could be. Falling in line with Berninger's poignant lyricism, the rest of the band embrace the potential of less being more. Even when stripped down to depressive piano chords and minimalistic leads, Boxer
finds space for tiny orchestral flourishes, making even the most downtrodden cadences shine with resplendent glory. Firmly cementing everything together is drummer Bryan Devendorf, who beats the hell out his kit with pin-point precision. Not only do his straight forward yet devilishly intricate rhythms bring Boxer
to life, but his knack for knowing when to slow things down helps further the distance in Berninger's words.
The National's Boxer
is a magnificent look at the existential and social worries of a man growing in to the responsibilities and expectations of adulthood in the twenty-first century. It is carried by a crippling tension that smolders just beneath the surface, building with each unknown step, destined to tear itself apart.