The National
Trouble Will Find Me


4.4
superb

Review

by Channing Freeman STAFF
May 22nd, 2013 | 2430 replies | 120,763 views


Release Date: 05/20/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dim the lights.

After twelve or so years of The National’s existence, we’ve finally reached the point where the first paragraph of every review should be dedicated to drummer Bryan Devendorf. Even after the gradual softening of the band’s music over the last three albums, he is still capable of transporting songs to different realms, using his snare drum as a portal through which yet more beautiful plateaus stretch. Trouble Will Find Me gives him fewer chances to do so, but that only makes it all the more exciting when it happens, when he tears in half the many layers of The National’s music and redefines what we thought we were hearing. The first time happens quite early, in opener “I Should Live In Salt,” right before the second verse. It’s what made me fall in love with the song before I was even halfway through.

But as good as he and the rest of the musicians remain, it’s hard to tell if, as a whole, Trouble Will Find Me is a classic like the last three National albums. Certainly their approach seems different: most of the time the band sounds as if they were seeing how much they could dilute a song while still having it pack a punch. It generally works, like with “Slipped,” where the instruments very gradually impede upon Matt Berninger’s vocals, or with “Demons,” which somehow contains a subtle energy that simply shouldn’t be present in a song with that kind of precise pacing. But “Heavenfaced” doesn’t work as well; despite the beautiful way the piano and drums dance around each other, and Berninger’s bare lyrical honesty (“If you lose me, I’m gonna die”), the song never really ascends into that stratospheric territory where most of The National’s songs reside. I can’t help but think, “If they had added another minute…,” or, “If they had added just one more instrument…” Those thoughts are echoed in a few other places on the album, and I hate that urge to be a backseat composer, but still I can’t shake them.

In spite of that, this album is yet another amazing work from a vitally important band with a vitally important frontman. For all of Devendorf’s signature verve, the music on Trouble Will Find Me is structured in a way that makes Matt Berninger the album’s MVP. He’s always been a good singer, but there is an urgent frailty to his voice on this album. He sings every line as if they had to be sung. Maybe they did. Hearing the last word of the absolutely jaw-dropping bridge of “Demons” - that strained “fuck” that has been imbued by Berninger with such pain - is like listening to the encapsulation of every National album, of everything they’ve ever tried to convey with their music. Not much on this album is immediate, and that’s a little disappointing, but more than any other National work, Trouble Will Find Me hints at depths upon depths hidden beneath the surface of thirteen very pretty songs. In “Pink Rabbits,” when Berninger sings, “You didn’t see me/I was falling apart/I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park,” there is something in his voice, something in the music, that makes the words heavy as hell. The meaning of the line seems so obvious when you read it, but to hear it is to know that it must mean something else, something more. And I don’t suppose I know what it is, but I know it’s something true.



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user ratings (1012)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
cinaedus
May 21st 2013



26298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

first comment on a channing freeman review

i am your biggest fan

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fish.
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2013



21582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Here we go

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mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

5/5

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2013



21582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I still love that album cover

cinaedus
May 21st 2013



26298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

same

tommygun
May 21st 2013



23618 Comments


sweet rev

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pornogratherapy
May 21st 2013



100 Comments


Need this

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

BRYAN*

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Ziio
May 21st 2013



55 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The bridge to "Demons" is one of my favorite moments of this year.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, still need to give this more time to see if I agree or not though.

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Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

WRONG

cinaedus
May 21st 2013



26298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

let me decide for you sowing: 10/5 best band ever, matt berninger take my money and allow me to give you several blowjobs in succession

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hanson is this going to be one of those Fair to Midland things where one day you're like HAHA NEVERMIND IT'S A 4.5

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

no because he actually listened to fair to midland

ILJ
May 21st 2013



6619 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

short and to the point

me likey

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killrobotmusic
May 21st 2013



670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Your reviews always foreground the emotional core of an album, and that is something that I, being too analytical for my own good, can truly appreciate/be envious of. Cheers.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



14991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"In “Pink Rabbits,” when Berninger sings, “You didn’t see me/I was falling apart/I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park,” there is something in his voice, something in the music, that makes the words heavy as hell."

these types of lines--and i can't explain why...cloying?--are the ones that always turned me away from the national, very good band though they are. i liked the "sea of love" single and will listen to this, though

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

i don't think cloying is the right word to use

but i could see someone thinking it was stupid

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013



14991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

yeah youre right. idk tho. kid in the sea of love video is mvp

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013



1639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Daveyboy says that Matt looks taller

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