Special Guest: Bartees Strange
The euphoria was great when The National finally released another new song in The fact that the song "Weird Goodbyes" is a duet with Bon Iver is all the more beautiful. The deep baritone of Matt Berninger and the soft timbre of Justin Vernon model the melancholy of the track very nicely and fit together as perfectly as the sound of the two bands.
Even nicer, though, is that The National have announced that the single is also a harbinger of their upcoming ninth studio album. "First Two Pages of Frankenstein" is its name, and despite all the glorious successes as a band - a Grammy for the album "Sleep Well Beast" as well as countless sold-out tours around the globe - the road to the finished album was not an easy one. Singer and lyricist Matt Berninger found himself facing a writer's block that dragged on for several months and seemed to have no end.
So the band put songwriting aside for the time being and focused on their interpersonal relationships in order to find each other again as a band on another level, away from the professional context. The album title remains as a relic of that time: whenever Berninger can't find the words, he reaches for his favorite books for inspiration, and so Mary Shelley's classic recalls this episode of The National.
Then, as soon as the band was able to get back on the road in 2022 after the pandemic-induced hiatus, the ideas and lyrics just bubbled out of Berninger and provided new songs at lightning speed, most of which were recorded at Long Pond Studio in the Hudson Valley. Some of the songs were also recorded as fragments at soundchecks or, like the song "Tropic Morning News", at the concert in Hamburg last summer, and combine their sketchy character with the unique dark-melancholic atmosphere that is characteristic of The National.
In addition to the emotional lyrics of Matt Berninger and the sophisticated and sprawling music of the brothers Dessner and Devendorf, the album again features renowned guests: Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers or Sufjan Stevens lend their voices and help the songs to become even more powerful.
This fall, the new songs will then be duly presented on tour and there, together with the band's broad back catalog, will ensure happy fans at the show in Berlin.
They will be supported by Bartees Strange, who first attracted attention with an EP full of The National cover songs in 2020. Since then, two independent albums have been released and Bartees Strange has meanwhile also found his label home at 4AD. With his mix of indie rock and 00s R'n'B references, the artist will set the mood perfectly for The National