Reviews 441
Soundoffs 418
News Articles 74
Band Edits + Tags 152
Album Edits 774

Album Ratings 2218
Objectivity 80%

Last Active 10-21-19 3:20 am
Joined 07-07-08

Forum Posts 3,024
Review Comments 32,493

10.16.19 Surviving Ranked10.08.19 Sowing's Week 6 Picks
10.05.19 10/4 First Impressions10.03.19 Sowing's Week 5 Picks
09.30.19 Sputnik Ideas 09.26.19 Sowing's Week 4 Picks
09.19.19 Sowing's Week 3 Picks09.16.19 Autumn Favorites
09.10.19 Sowing's Week 2 Picks09.06.19 Norman Fucking Rockwell Ranked
09.05.19 Sowing's Week 1 Picks 08.16.19 Big Week #2: Rapid Reactions
07.27.19 Another 2019 Ranking07.25.19 Sowing's 2019 NFL Predictions
07.24.19 Fall Out Boy Albums Ranked 07.05.19 All Brand New Songs Ranked: Sowing's Re
07.01.19 User Appreciation06.22.19 Manchester Orchestra Ranked
More »

Sleep Well Sowing

Sleep Well Beast Ranked
1The National
Sleep Well Beast

"I'll Still Destroy You" - Has one of the most immediate choruses on the album, but it's also one of the best and most memorable. Something about this whole song lends itself to immense personal nostalgia for me, and it has what I call "the Sorrow Effect" because it brings the feels like that song did for me back when I first heard of the band. The drumming here is immense; Devendorf is God-like. For some reason the line "I'm just trying to stay in touch with...anything I'm still in touch with" really resonates with me, it's the perfect sentiment for a 30 year old who although happy feels like the colors of his past have long been awash. Lyrically, instrumentally, and melodically everything I want from The National and a top-10 track for the band. (5/5)
2The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Sleep Well Beast" - This took a little bit of time, but was well worth the investment. This possesses one of the band's most muted, brooding tones. The way the vocals are overlayed with the textured feedback and drumming lends it a gloomy but determined air. It also has a distinct stream-of-consciousness progression that flows with zero resistance, making it one of the easiest National tracks to sink into. I can't not lose myself in this. (4.7/5)
3The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Guilty Party" - Depression blues, through a classic National lens. Feels like Berninger is narrating the disintegration of a relationship over time: "it's nobody's fault, there's no guilty party...I just have nothing left to say." The chime-like effects that bridge together the verses are a touch of brilliance. Perfect song to just mesh with in a catatonic-like state of post-breakup devastation. (4.5/5)
4The National
Sleep Well Beast

"The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness" - Best "standard National" song of the bunch, it is the ideal single and the album's mainstay tune. The female-sung ooh's that open the song set the tone, giving way to a very welcome rock presence led by brief, intermittent electric guitar riffs. The chorus is the sort of thing that made the National who they are, it's an earworm that feels both vintage and fresh. You simply can't ask for a better or more identity-representing lead single than this. (4.3/5)
5The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Dark Side of the Gym" - A penultimate gem, this song is kind of unexpected as a bolder, more brilliant ballad to immediately succeed "Carin". The lyrics are more immediate and there are two distinctly different but equally emotive choruses present. There's a lot happening beneath the surface too, from swelling of strings to distorted vocals. It all finally bursts to the forefront during the song's final thirty seconds, resulting in this crescendo of intertwining strings that are both elegant and uplifting. (4.1/5)
6The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Empire Line" - The little piano pauses that interrupt this otherwise percussion-driven song are an example of what The National do best; they take these little ideas that really shouldn't have much more than a minor impact and make them sound like they are capable of moving the Earth. Also noteworthy is the static and string laced culmination towards the end of the song, making all the subtle little progressions that occur throughout all the more rewarding. (4/5)
7The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Day I Die" - Almost everything that I said about 'System' could be applied to this song as it pretty much pulls everything from the National standard bag-o-tricks, but this is just a minor cut below in every aspect. Even though it's slightly less meaningful and innovative, it serves quite well in maintaining the pace of an album that would otherwise dwell in balladry too much for its own good. Feels like a Boxer track, which I have nothing to support other than the fact that it gives me "Apartment Story" vibes. Super solid track. (3.8/5)
8The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Born to Beg" - The lyrics about crying/crawling for "teakettle love" are touching, and the apparition-like ooh's and aah's that swell in the background remind me a lot of the band's High Violet days. This is a beautiful albeit too drab for its own good track that might've fit in quite well on that album, if only it had a little hook or even subtly unique twist to help separate it from your standard National-by-numbers. The key-laden outro is pure fucking elegance, so I guess that comes close. Call it a High Violet b-side with exquisite lyrics. (3.6/5)
9The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Walk It Back" - Other than the general over-use of profanity, my favorite part of this track is the spoken passage; it feels both eerie and incredibly important. For some reason, it also aptly fits in on a track that would be incomplete otherwise. It's not the most interesting National song, but it works in this particular album's overall atmosphere and vibe. (3.5/5)
10The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Carin at the Liquor Store" - For analogies' sake, this is to 'Pink Rabbits' as 'Day I Die' is to 'Apartment Story.' I'm hesitant to say poor man's version, because there's nothing subpar about the track even if it's a tad bit forgettable; it's just been performed in a similar style and at a much higher level in the past. This is quite the emotional piano ballad nonetheless, and keeps the near-perfect momentum of those last four tracks afloat. (3.5/5)
11The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Nobody Else Will Be There" - So here begins the less-than-great (3.5) songs, and there's only two of them which speaks to the quality of the record. This opener is a little too drab, and it lacks that famed National charm to make up for it. Hell, I'll just say it: it's boring. Not poorly written or executed, but not very arresting or engaging. The best part is 2:45 in when the drum/clap beat transitions to the "hey baby" that glides atop those depressive strings. It's a good song by any standard to be fair, but less than what I've come to expect from this band, much less as an opener. (3/5)
12The National
Sleep Well Beast

"Turtleneck" - My first impression of this song remains more or less what I think of it now: an important factor in the album's pacing, but a subpar song overall. It's fun to hear the band finally let loose like this, but I think they could have done "carefree" a thousand times better without sacrificing any spontaneity. This is just undercooked fun, thrown in to balance out the snail-like progression of the runtime's majority. An average track at best. (2.5/5)
Show/Add Comments (33)


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2019
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy