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The National takes a deep breath on I Am Easy to Find

Photo: Graham MacIndoe

"I can not slow down and I can not stand it." A neat summary of I am easy to find, this, but also an encapsulation of our hyper saturated thoughts. Tweets. New. Content. Comments. Posts. Bots. Tweets. We are consumed, swept away by the current. Matt Berninger understands, perhaps better than most. His lyrics have always illustrated the traveling spirit, passing from humor to heartbreak on an ocean of moored and conversational conversations. This is the case of "Not In Kansas", the anguished centerpiece of the National's seventh album, seven minutes later, until this is no longer the case.


The A.V. club mentioned Berninger's penchant for "one-way conversation" in our 2017 review Sleep well stupid, but something has changed. The National is listening now. Singers such as Gail Ann Dorsey, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan and Kate Stables of This Is The Kit, among others, span these 16 tracks. Sometimes they train with Berninger, sometimes they haunt him and sometimes, as in "Not In Kansas", they throw him a lifeboat. Because just when he feels like drowning in his wandering observations – not glued in time, references to The Godfather, R.E.M. and Annette Bening split up against a diverted and circular guitar line – a chorus of vocals descending like angels from a UFO. "If the sadness of life makes you tired / and the failures of man make you sigh", they call, "You can look to the hour that is coming soon / When this noble experience ends and the ad one day. "It's a riff on Noble Experiment by Thinking Fellers Local Union 282, but it also illustrates the album's more ambitious efforts in favor of rest and, perhaps more importantly again, reflection in a chaotic world.

Because Berninger is exhausted. It's clear. "I'm so tired of thinking of everything," he sings in "Quiet Light," a brilliant, heart-wrenching song that talks as much about silence as life's learning with the painful memories that come with it. ; accompany. As in the Mike Mills short film accompanying the album, the fog of memory is a cloud that hovers over every word, and the power of these two pieces – these are very individual works of art – comes from their fluid representation of our relationship. to what preceded, that it 's an old friend' s, a traumatic event or a sense of the past self. "Something is leaving me behind," Berninger cries. "The Pull Of You", his concern is manifested in the monologue of his female counterpart, a symbol of living memory and in the process of transformation.

This variety of perspective is integral here. I am easy to findThe best songs – "Oblivions" and "Where Is Her Head", in addition to "The Pull Of You" – evoke conversations and the superimposed and thorny results offer a texture and tension that give the work of National This does not mean that the band's production was becoming obsolete – we loved the storm, glitchy Sleep well stupid– But the elements of collaboration here are more like the ever-exploratory nature of the instrumental brain Aaron Dessner, who has spent the last few years experimenting with PEOPLE and his offspring, Big Red Machine.

The National treats its guests as members of the band – as in the first movie "You Had Your Soul With You", when their voices often eclipse Berninger's – the catchy cathars of his best work still resonates in muscular titles like "Rylan "and" Where Is Her Head ", both of which reach a spirited high with beloved cuts such as" Sea Of Love "and" All The Wine. "However, the best moments are perhaps the most discrete: the rustle, the sepia, "So Far So Fast" is as inspiring as it is existential, while the overflowing electronic music of the title track finds Dessner superimposing meticulously drums and horns on a penetrating base of chirping birds and vibrating fashion synths The National was never afraid to act, but it rarely seemed as vulnerable as here: song after song, Dessner's vibrant and sullen arrangements reflect precariousness Berninger's hope and frustration.

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Distance has long been a theme of The National – as in Cherry tree"About Today" – but here, the group's illustration comes with a bit of optimism. Just as we are moving away from others, we are moving away from ourselves, the surging disappointment and industry moving away from what we might consider a purer version of ourselves. Although many I am easy to findThe songs are romantic in nature, easy to read in the form of conversations between Berninger and the lost intangibles of life. "I'm still standing where you left me standing," the title continues. "I am easy to find." This word echoes in the last title, "Light Years", when Berninger sings about "you waited outside in the sun". But nevertheless, he says, "you could have never known." The things we lost, the identity we hope to recover, remain both near and far, and so welcoming. that it may seem that our souls are waiting for us in silence, an underlying malaise persists: "I am easy to find" could, according to your point of view, be read as a discrete threat.

This reading is reinforced by Mills' accompanying film, in which Alicia Vikander sighs through snapshots of a busy life from birth to death. Each event (often framed by simple blocks of text and an indelible image) instantly becomes a memory, as one that burns, fades and burns over time. "You do not know that one day, someone will come to find you," sings the narrator of "So Far So Fast." "If you do not know who you are, they'll call you back. not said I am easy to findbut, as the film illustrates, it's probably a lot of people. It is probably the hour. And no, we can not slow down, but we can stop. We can look around. We can rest.

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