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Editors’ Notes

Brooklyn’s The National perform orchestrated nightclub folk-pop that could comfortably sit besides Leonard Cohen, Lee Hazlewood and the Tindersticks on the shelf of modern day existentialists. Singer Matt Berninger’s lyrics convey a sense of a looming mid-life crisis exacerbated by the successful yet soulless corporate climbing going on around him. “I’m a professional in my beloved white shirt,” he sings with a trace of bitterness. But while the world around them smacks of greater indifference, the National plunge headfirst into maintaining the signature vibe that made their previous album, Alligator, such an alluring call to arms. Trumpet and piano accentuate the group’s ambient chug. Drummer Bryan Devendorf, in particular, takes charge, stubbornly churning against the band’s smoother textures. Yet, despite the anxiety and tension, Berninger soldiers on with his elusive baritone skipping through the lyrics, sprinkling his learned, romantic syntax on these social critiques. “Mistaken for Strangers,” “Squalor Victoria,” “Racing Like A Pro,” the highlights sneak in and out, flowing past at first unnoticed, but over time adding a cumulative weight that upon closer inspection reveal quite a commentary on the disparate economic classes living side by side.

Customer Reviews


Lately, I've been enjoying plenty of tracks, but have been rarely finding albums to be phenomenal. Then I heard Boxer. I have been a fan of The National since their conception, and I have always quite enjoyed them. This album is undoubtedly a masterpiece. Each song is precise, flowing with musically fascinating components and is strongly emotional. The order of the songs manage to make the perfect story arch. To me, while my opinion has changed so many times since I began listening to the album, my favorite moment in the album occurs in the middle of Slow Show, when the band has perfectly been portraying the awkward feelings associated with spotting a girl who takes your attention away, a girl you don't dreaming about having sex with, but about living with and sharing a family. When he opens his mouth to say something to her, he does not say something emotional, tacky, cliched, or even overtly romantic. He simple says "You know I've dreamed about you for twenty-nine years before I saw you." Perfect. Brilliant. All of the emotions and feelings of man are compacted into a very simple statement that won't even strike a listener as deep until they take a moment to think about it. This album blows the term "masterpiece" out of the park. I can't wait to see them at the Molson Ampitheatre on June 8th. Great job, guys!

The Knockout Punch

Stream-of-consciousness lyric writing should be a bad idea. But that's actually one of the most interesting aspects of the National. Maybe that's why they don't include lyrics on the record sleeve. Lines like "sometimes you get up and bake a cake or something", or "raise our heavenly glasses to the heavens" just should not work, but somehow they pull it off and at the same time, make the best album of 2007. Yes, it's only September, and no, nothing can touch this.

Favourite of 2007

This is one of those albums - the ones that you try to stop yourself from listening to again and again in fear of overdoing it. But you just can't. Slightly dark in tone with fantastic melody and instrumentation. Excellent production. Gorgeous baritone voice. Relevant and rousing lyrics. Can you ask for more? Yes. They are also fantastic live. Humble, tight, and plain old wonderful. Get it now.


Formed: 1999 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although formed during the post-punk revival of the late '90s, the National took inspiration from a wider set of influences, including country-rock, Americana, indie rock, and Brit-pop. The lineup began taking shape in Ohio and officially cemented itself in New York, with baritone vocalist Matt Berninger joining forces with two sets of brothers -- Scott (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums), and Aaron (guitar) and Bryce Dessner (guitar). After establishing themselves as a live act, the bandmates made...
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