The turn of the 21st century is widely heralded as the return of garage rock. Bands like The Strokes, The Hives, The Vines and The White Stripes were meant to be at the forefront of this garage rock revival. But the revival was to be a short-lived one – for various reasons, the bands failed to live up to the gargantuan expectations that were thrust upon them.
And yet, an entirely different kind of band emerged at around the same time. In part due to the mediocrity of their debut album, The National emerged with far less hype than their garage equivalents. But a rarely seen consistency followed their forgotten debut album, giving them their undeniable place at the forefront of the indie music scene, amongst their friends and regular collaborators Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens and St. Vincent.
Six albums into such an illustrious career, compiling a list of their top 10 tracks is no easy task, but here’s our take on it:
Whether he’s lamenting his relationship mistakes or expressing his existential doubts, Matt Berninger’s baritone almost always sounds subtle, composed and steady, inviting the listener to delve deeper into the metaphors that he murmurs to us, and only then do we realise the emotiveness of his lyrics. But with ‘Available’, Berninger puts his subtleties to the side and the catharsis is uncharacteristically vocal as he builds up to an unembellished bellow of “why did you dress me down?”