So this is going to be new, because we’re going to get to know this one together. I became a fan – and I mean a rabid, rabid fan of The National via a burned copy of High Violet that a former co-worker slipped me back around the time it came out in May of 2010. I sat on the record for a few years because at the time I was inundated with new music and what I can now admit was a completely erroneous idea that The National’s music was what I call “beard and wine music” (think Bon Iver – who knows, I may one day find I’m wrong about him too). So around 2014 Bret Easton Ellis had the band’s lead singer Matt Berninger one his podcast. I was unfamiliar with the guest by name, and as the cast began with the opening of High Violet’s Conversation 16 my eyes went wide – it sounded exactly like Ellis’s prose – which I am an enormous fan of – reads: haunted. I listened to the conversation Ellis and Berninger shared, which dwelled largely on Mistaken For Strangers, and afterward sought out the song on youtube. When I did I realized it was from the album I had on file and immediately dug it out of one of the stacks of burned discs that live in a cupboard in my dining room.
It did not come out of the CD player or my iPod for a looong time. And that behavior, those jag-like, head-over-heels bouts of obsession, has persisted every couple months since then, to varying degrees and strengths.
Now, with as hard as I fell for High Violet you might find it weird that I’ve never looked into any of The National’s other albums. I do this sometimes: I get into one album by one band and I wait. Remember the scene in Vanilla Sky where Cameron Diaz’s character accuses Tom Cruise’s character of being a pleasure-delayer? That’s me with some bands – I hold off on delving into other albums because I want to delay my descent into anything other than the one I’ve fallen in love with at the moment. Well, guess what? Shortly after Grez tagged me last week I fell into another High Violet jag and decided this was the week. I’d post my pick for the Joup Friday Album as the next album I have slated by The National – the album my friend Brown gave me back in August that I haven’t listened to yet. I’ll post it and we can get to know it together. (I can already tell you after two listen-throughs since I began writing this two days ago that the second track is, so far, my favorite).
Enjoy and have a safe, wonderful weekend. Oh yeah, and if you dig The Boxer, please, buy it. Let’s keep these guys well fed so they continue to make albums for the rest of our lives.
No beard and wine music here.
And now I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming my favorite people in the world aboard Joup with a tag for next Friday. Sonny V – COME ON DOWN and play us an album!
Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.