This year has been a good one musically, so many good releases, one of which was the double album, Dark Was the Night, featuring the Dessner brothers from The National. While I was hoping for a new album from the band this year, their contribution to the project, So Far Around the Bend has certainly been on high rotation. And anyway, great things don’t need to be rushed…
So, with the final month of the year hurtling toward us, the last weekend of Spring opening it’s skies, don’t be careful anymore… fall in love with Mr. November.
Used as the unofficial anthem for Obama’s election campaign, this song, from their 2005 album, Alligator opens me up like a tin of fish each time I hear it. The lush, chiming guitars, crisp snare sound and vocalist Matt Berninger’s deadpan, rising to a full-throated roar, careens on the edge of losing control. It has a wildness, a sense of abandonment. It is driving with the windows down, turn it up loud and sing till your throat hurts good.
I wish that I believed in fate
I wish I didn’t sleep so late
I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders
Check out this great live version…
Wind the clock forward to 2007 and the band release Boxer, a brooding masterpiece. It is an album of dark, asymmetrical rhythms scoring Berninger’s collage of poetry, dialogue and imagistic brush strokes. Apartment Story has an agoraphobic feel, something the band do quite well, but ironically, it sends you out into the world, wanting to share it with everyone you meet.
Oh we’re so disarming darling, everything we did believe
is diving diving diving diving off the balcony
Tired and wired we ruin too easy
sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave
And this, from their 2003 album, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers. This is jagged, angular rock. A caustic tale, which ends with Berninger exploding into the question, ‘why did you dress me down and liquor me up?’ Where Mr. November careens on the edge of abandonment, Available plunges headlong into it. The climax steamrolls… but leaves you ready to do it all again.
Did you dress me down and liquor me up
To make me last for the minute
When the red comes over you
Like it does when you’re filled with love
Or whatever you call it
More from the band at their homepage: www.americanmary.com