Review Summary: Diving, diving, diving, diving off the balcony.
The popular cliché with The National goes that each of their albums represents a different stage of life. I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment; I’m at the point right now where I’m slowly moving past Alligator
and hearing all sorts of uncomfortable truths in Boxer
. I’m having fun right now. I want to stop time here and not worry about ever reaching High Violet
And frankly, Trouble Will Find Me
scares me. This is a world where adulthood doesn’t consist of fresh wounds, but picking at the old ones again and again and again. On the opening track Matt Berninger moans “I should live in salt for leaving you behind”--and live in salt he probably does. Berninger probably left “you” somewhere between Alligator
and hasn’t gotten her off his mind yet. That’s a frightening reality.
It doesn’t help that the music has mellowed. “Graceless”, for instance, doesn’t necessarily need
to rattle and scream like “Abel” or “Mr. November”, but by God I want it to. I want Berninger and company to provide me with some sort of evidence that there’s life in their limbs yet. But the entire album sticks to the always fantastic drumming of Bryan Devendorf like some sort of rigid heartbeat. That could be the rigidity of a 9 to 5 job, or settling in with a family, or any sort of thing I’m not ready to do yet.
The National are going through the motions here--and while their motions are better than like, any other band in the world’s motions, Trouble Will Find Me
falls slowly into the same monotony that High Violet
hinted at but tried so hard to avoid. It’s the sad sound of a tremendous band running out of steam. If only Berninger could pick up new problems, sing about new things. But the band has never once wavered in their brutal accuracy, and a perfectly accurate portrayal of an average life is just average.
Trouble Will Find Me
is the rosy-minded fuzz. It’s the logical next step after High Violet
. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s life, and my life will probably be Trouble Will Find Me
one day. But perhaps the worst part of getting older is being young and seeing your idols rust.