Review: The National – Boxer

The National may look like an unlikely bunch but recently they have become firmly established as a critically lauded act and the respectable choice for music fans approaching middle age. Part of the reason for this is undoubtedly the fine songs they produce but another is the gritty lyricism which often relates to the trauma of advancing years. 

 The National Album Cover

‘Fake Empire’ is a typically moody start, Matt Berninger sounds not unlike a  drunk muttering to himself about today’s society. As we’ve come to expect, beneath all the moodiness there’s some well judged insight into the psyche of a man struggling to come to terms with passing through his 30s and moving on to 40. ‘Mistaken For Strangers’ is a darker more menacing beast; the guitars grind away whilst the rattling percussion ratchets up the air of tension. It’s a rare moment of excitement though, The National choosing to offer their outlook on life in a restrained manner; bruised and battered over the years but too tired to get irate about it. This formula worked brilliantly for 2005’s ‘Alligator’ but now they are beginning to sound tired on record too. However, since they are a class act, they can still produce great songs like ‘Guest Room’, the reflective ‘Racing Like A Pro’ describes a once “glowing young ruffian” but that was a “million years ago” whilst the delicate rolling piano underscoring ‘Ada’ is another fine moment. Strangely, they have saved some of their best work for the end of the record and suddenly an average album turns into a good one after all.

Web Sites:
Official Site for The National
The National MySpace

Also Recommended:
Tindersticks, The Walkmen, Nick Cave

1 Response to “Review: The National – Boxer”


  1. 1 Rubén Santamaría December 21, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    this is one of my favourites CD’s of the year, and yes….. i am in my 30’s 😦 .
    I have also listened to “alligator” but i prefer this one,it has a more powerful sound , specially for the rythm of the drum combined with the piano.

    bye, mate


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