The National
Trouble Will Find Me


4.5
superb

Review

by Adrian Hertzberg CONTRIBUTOR (31 Reviews)
May 31st, 2013 | 90 replies


Release Date: 05/20/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I'll never be anything you ever want me to be

There’s a moment during the penultimate track “Pink Rabbits” when The National epitomizes their appeal, in all its simplistic glory. Matt Beringer’s trademark baritone vocals are layered, reinforcing the wondrous soothing tones in his voice that fans of the band have always loved unconditionally, and the simple guitar melodies of the twin brothers combine with piano and some quiet, but still soaring horns, to create a tapestry of sound that could only have come from the Brooklyn five-piece. Technically, nothing too impressive is going on – even the drum kit, which takes centre stage on the majority of their songs, slips into the background unassumingly with its simple bass/snare pattern. Beringer’s lyrics here are perfectly fitting as well. He seems to lethargically force out this bitter complaint and yet repeat it multiple times like it’s desperately important that it be heard: “You said it would be painless – a needle in the dark. You said it would be painless – it wasn’t that at all.” It is spelled out plainly – no metaphors or trickery here – just like all of their best lyrics. It is a passive piece of destructive self-talk, the sound of someone overstaying their welcome in the confines of misery. In a way, this lyric embodies the band’s general motif wholly, and the music, very representative of their overall musical style, reinforces this with its unassuming simplicity. The appeal of this band’s music lies in the atmosphere that they are able to effortlessly create and cultivate over the span of four minutes. Very rarely does anything floor the listener immediately; their music is more likely to slowly work its way under the skin upon repeated listens, and before you know it, you can’t get their simple, catchy, and yet powerful music out of your head.

As a fan, it’s hard to articulate this band’s appeal to non-fans. More often than not, I end up hypocritically exclaiming that they “just don’t get it” in frustration. And when I actually sit down to try to analyze it myself, I can’t even put a finger on precisely why they are one of my favourite bands. I love the vocals and drums for their aesthetic appeal, and Matt Beringer’s lyrics have always resonated with me, but that’s surely not enough for me to claim now five of their albums as nothing short of masterpieces. But that’s precisely why The National is such a special band to me: they transcend my inner critic, my inherent desire to rank, analyze, justify, critique, and tear music apart. I stop what I’m doing and pay full attention every time the chorus of “Graceless” plays, and this overpowering feeling transcends any shallow and ultimately futile attempts at criticism. The National’s music has always struck me as completely genuine and honest, and the lack of frills is really seen as a positive here. Each of their albums has, at one point, driven me into fits of obsessive listening. It’s emotionally draining to become so attached to a National record, and even though I should know better, they hook me every damn time. The music is so incredibly human and personal in a way virtually non-comparable to any other rock band in existence. I feel like I’m the only one on Earth listening to Trouble Will Find Me when put it on, like I’m the only one that those words were meant for. Is that enough of a justification for a four-and-a-half star rating and hyperbolic claims about the alleged “best indie rock band in the world”? Absolutely not, but I couldn’t possibly care less.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

never pass up an opportunity to use the word "penultimate"

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

Chrisjon89
May 31st 2013


3739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"As a fan, it’s hard to articulate this band’s appeal to non-fans." totally agree.

review is good. album likewise, but a shade below High Violet and Boxer for me. I'm digging the new Laura Marling album more so that's kinda putting the kibosh on spinning this one

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah I like High Violet and Boxer more than this. Boxer by a mile, High Violet by a bit.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thanks but why on earth would you have expected to like this in the first place?

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


7026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great piece here, honest and relatable. You reach well for why this band is so magical and how Berninger's baritone and lyrical style is so affecting (that it's like he's delivering the words right to you - shivers). Nice work.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thanks, I've wanted to have a stab at a brief review for a while now and this album felt like a good fit because my reason for liking this band/album isn't very deep

so so so excited to see them with Frightened Rabbit in September. Their set on Day 1 of Sasquatch 2010 is still one of my all-time favourite concerts.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

...to create a tapestry of sound that only have come from The National.

"could have come"?

Nice work otherwise.

I obviously love this, and it's nice to see a return to a more intimate atmosphere, like one Boxer. But it still feels a little too calculated for me to fully embrace the album.

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I was just editing that and a couple of other things weirrrrd cheers though, and I don't know this
doesn't feel calculated to me at all. opinions and such.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Maybe I've just become a cynical bastard that can't appreciate things for what they are anymore. See also: Daft Punk, QOTSA, Yeah Yeah Yeahs...

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"so so so excited to see them with Frightened Rabbit in September"

I hate you.

The album has grown on me as predicted, but I still wouldn't rank it alongside Alligator, Boxer or High Violet. I think I was hoping for them to, I dunno, mix things up a little more. I might bump it to a 4 at some point.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't think it has as many standout tracks as those three albums, but in many ways it feels like their most complete album to me.

Gyromania
May 31st 2013


15941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this review is

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

does this mean you no longer wish to do unspeakable things to my relatives?

cheers blud

Gyromania
May 31st 2013


15941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

wait for it....

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't handle the suspense, spill it already!

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I'm confused

scissorlocked
May 31st 2013


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice write up Aids

Sea of Love is probably my favourite song till now

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


22014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think it has as many standout tracks as those three albums, but in many ways it feels like their most complete album to me.

I feel exactly the opposite

Digging: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib - Pinata

Artuma
May 31st 2013


14460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"I don't think it has as many standout tracks as those three albums, but in many ways it feels like their most complete album to me."

in fact i agree that there is not as much standout tracks as the three last albums had but this may be their most mature and consistent album so far

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

defjaw83
May 31st 2013


1772 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Really great review man. Agree 100% that it's hard to explain the band's appeal. I try to get my housemate into them, but he just wants to listen to Fake Empire and leave it. Their albums require time, but once they hook you in they really get you.

This is probably 4.5 for me but I 5'd it because it's just inevitable that it will become a classic.

Digging: Caribou - Our Love



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