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Last Active 09-29-21 4:15 pm
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12.12.21 tec's 2021 - Top 50 (100) 12.07.21 Sput's Gym/Fitness Thread
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04.13.21 tec's 2021 Q1 - Top 1504.07.21 tec’s KING CRIMSON, Ranked
03.31.21 tec’s GODFLESH, Ranked03.22.21 tec’s THE SMITHS, Ranked
03.11.21 tec’s RADIOHEAD, Ranked 03.01.21 tec’s THE NATIONAL, Ranked
02.22.21 tec’s BJORK, Ranked 02.18.21 Breakfast Cereal Tier List
02.03.21 tec's DAVID BOWIE, Ranked 01.20.21 tec's SONIC YOUTH, Ranked
01.05.21 MUSIC: tec's Top 50 of 2020 11.23.20 2020 // 25 UNDER 25
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tec’s THE NATIONAL, Ranked

Quite possibly my favorite band. Though that can be neither confirmed or denied with any level of certainty. No EPs for this ranking, because I said so!
8The National
The National

Overall Score | 2.82 | 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

🥇 Beautiful Head
🥈 American Mary
🥉 Theory of the Crows

It ain’t bad, but it’s relatively unexceptional by any metric, and given the quality (and quantity) of everything in The National’s discography henceforth, it’s difficult to make a conscious decision to listen to it. SAD SONGS was a precursor to ALLIGATOR, and this is a precursor to SAD SONGS that suffers a bit from both underproduction and juvenilia. Not the bucket of shit that many people would have you believe, but it doesn’t do much to distinguish itself amid The National’s catalog. Their PABLO HONEY in many ways. (Its better than PABLO HONEY, to be sure.)
7The National
Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers

Overall Score | 3.25 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

🥇 Murder Me Rachel
🥈 90-Mile Water Wall
🥉 Lucky You

Very hard to hear this now and appraise it as anything other than a dry run for ALLIGATOR, but as far as rough drafts go, it’s still pretty damn good, and a healthy step up from their full-length debut. It just feels too tame in comparison to the extremes at which they’d eventually settle on later albums, but my playlists are still sprinkled with its highlights (the three noted above, as well as “Cardinal Song”, “Slipping Husband”, “It Never Happened”, and “Available”). Actually, it’s a remarkably consistent record, but the level of consistency peaks at “really good”, never once brushing elbows with true greatness. That’s more than you can say about a lot of sophomoric efforts, though.
6The National
I Am Easy to Find

Overall Score | 3.32 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

🥇 Rylan
🥈 Quiet Light
🥉 I Am Easy to Find

Don’t hate this as so many others do, but acknowledge that it is nevertheless severely flawed; too recursive, too conceptually overbearing, and too damn long. Thing is, you could whittle this down to a pretty great nine or ten track album. The interludes are useless, and songs like “You Had Your Soul with You”, “Roman Holiday”, “The Pull of You”, and “Dust Swirls in Strange Light” have no business being here. “Rylan” and “Quiet Light” are the two most reminiscent of The National we’ve all come to know and love, but even the painterly pop-art grooves of e.g. “Where Is Her Head” and “Oblivions” are welcomed, and softer ballads like “I Am Easy to Find” and “Light Years” strike a new type of nerve. Bloated, but good.
5The National
Sleep Well Beast

Overall Score | 4.00 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

🥇 Guilty Party
🥈 Day I Die
🥉 The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness

I’d call this a “grower-not-a-shower” but as that could be said about nearly *every* National album, I’ll refrain. I must admit to my initial disappointment with the record, though, especially on the coattails of what I’d consider an all time favorite—the indietronica vibes frightened me, for I’d die before I saw my favorite band travel down the same self-sabotaging path of nauseating electric amalgamation as formerly great artists like Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens. (Only sort of joking/exaggerating, but the “comfort food” trumps the experimentalism in each case.) But the more I’ve listened to this, the more it peels its layers back and reveals that it really is just another exceptional National album, albeit one adorned with unconventional, modernistic grace notes.
4The National

Overall Score | 4.33 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

🥇 Secret Meeting
🥈 The Geese of Beverly Road
🥉 Baby, We’ll Be Fine

At one point, my favorite National album. Maybe because it was the first I’d ever heard by them. Or maybe because younger-me couldn’t believe how perfectly the rough edges and tattered exterior mirrored the content therein—an inescapable descent into middle-aged insecurity and lifelong ennui. I recognize its blemishes more readily these days and tend to favor the tighter composition and formalism to which they shifted over the subsequent decade. But there’s a certain charm - an ugly sort of elegance - to this raggedy, ramshackle breakthrough. My hottest take: “Baby, We’ll Be Fine” is one of the album’s best.
3The National
High Violet

Overall Score | 4.57 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

🥇 Sorrow
🥈 Bloodbuzz Ohio
🥉 Lemonworld

I’ve always thought the cover art between this and TROUBLE WILL FIND ME were perfect; in many ways they feel like spiritual companions pieces - that album more macabre and monochromatic in tone; this one a loftier, more colorful and vibrant sonic precursor (though make no mistake, this album is plenty dreary from a lyrical perspective). This marks a notable shift in The National’s sound from embellished indie-rock and post-punk revival to a more finely orchestrated and energetic incantation of depressive chamber music. It maintains that “disillusioned-with-the-world” attitude that has become a staple of their oeuvre, though.
2The National

Overall Score | 4.67 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

🥇 Brainy
🥈 Fake Empire
🥉 Slow Show

This appears to be the most immediate National album to most, and yet throughout the years it has proven to be the biggest grower for me. Never disliked it, by any means, but it wasn’t until last year or so that it *really* sunk its hooks into me. It feels now like the perfect intersection between the rustic indie-angst of ALLIGATOR and the soft and delicate lamenting of HIGH VIOLET. My biggest complaint is that it isn’t the most consistent album out there e.g. tracks like “Squalor Victoria”, “Racing Like a Pro”, and “Ada” underwhelm in context. But the highs are incredibly, impossibly high, and a couple short dips are a small price to pay for extreme bliss elsewhere. “Brainy” might be my all-time favorite National track.
1The National
Trouble Will Find Me

Overall Score | 4.88 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕

🥇 I Should Live in Salt
🥈 Hard to Find
🥉 Graceless

The most encompassing and comprehensive demonstration of The National’s overall sound. Admittedly a bit sprawling, and perhaps a little messy upon first glance, but I always feel like this is “the album” they had been building up to with each preceding effort. Beautifully chamber-esque, but also intimately pared-down; ostensibly simple and approachable, but deceivingly layered with depth and nuance. Wrapped in tender bookends and bursting with the sort of sad-dad brunchcore energy that speaks deeply to my soul. This is to The National what Tindersticks’ debut is to them. A monument.
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