Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
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Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream

Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream will serve as a blog for me to share my thoughts and musings, with a special emphasis on music. The music that will appear in this blog is for evaluation/sampling purposes only, and is designed to promote up and coming bands. Remember, if you like the artist(s), buy the CD! If you are the owner of a sound file and would like it removed, please contact us and we will kindly take it down.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Late Nights with The National

I've always had dreams of driving late at night with only the city lights accompanying my twilight excursion through darkness. These dreams seem strange to me in retrospect, as if they were missing something integral that would make them more realistic, tangible. I just assumed that if I were driving that I'd have a soundtrack to go along with the trip--nothing bombastic or ornate. I would want something soft and brooding-something that would begin slowly and gradually build up into a symphonic crescendo without being too dramatic. What I needed for these lacking dreams was Boxer, the new album from The National.

I must admit that I wasn't a huge fan of The National's prior release, Alligator--I found it static, stagnant, and relatively uninteresting. But I doubt everything I decided a couple of years ago after Boxer. From the get go, Matt Berninger's baritone vocals are perhaps the most fascinating set of pipes I've heard in a while, as I try to draw comparisons but come up empty. His voice conjures images of an earnest poet who has plenty of worthy things to be said. Berninger throws around such vivid, subtle imagery ( 'Standing in an empty tuxedo with grapes in my mouth'), that it's a shame that it sometimes gets overshadowed by the symphonic environment that the band creates. But what may be even more impressive is the way the quartet can suddenly shift from blaring trumpets (see "Ada") to the soft chords of the piano with such grace. Indeed, The National know how to make their sound work for them, employing a variety of instruments and some interesting rhythms as well. It seems to me that they have a real appreciation for the music they're creating--something that gets lost in the mix most of the time.

So I'll stop the babble--go and get Boxer.
Check out these videos.
Listen to "Ada" (5/5)
Listen to "Squalor Victoria" (4.8/5)

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Anonymous Jeff said...

Boxer is an outstanding album. Though it's very different, I think it's worth revisiting 'Alligator,' you may hear it differently this time around.

1:37 PM  

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