21 December 2007


#1 The National- Boxer
For a minute, this is the record that I thought beat backlash. When it first hit, everyone was singing its praises, even those who prematurely shot it down as a disappointment after Alligator -- for them, a step below "nearly perfect" is still "pretty damn great." Maybe it was the echo-chamber effect of the internet finally wearing off but the haters finally came out usually with a one word retort like "boring." Fine, put Person Pitch on again and have a ball.

Bottom line: this is the finest proper full-length of the year, and the only record behind my real number one, which I admit is my fake number one and probably shouldn't count at all (more on that soon). But year-end list time has basically came and went and The National were promptly shoved to the side. They're that girl you brought to prom because her mother was friends with your mother but after the photo-op, you ditched to get drunk and try your luck with some dirty floozy. Little did you know, that first girl -- the one who wasn't quite so "exciting" -- she's the one to whom you should've given the ring. This record belongs in single digits.

I wrote an acceptance speech for their number 18 finish at Tiny Mix Tapes.

18. The National - Boxer
[Beggars Banquet]
by Joseph Coscarelli

On 2005’s Alligator, The National’s Matt Berninger told Karen, "Fuck me and make me a drink," solidifying himself as the Clive Owen of this indie rock shit. Masculine, but with a tragic streak, sounding like he might as soon reach back and hit you as break down and cry — as if he had any other option with that godlike baritone. Whereas Berninger then had black birds circling his bed, 2007 found bluebirds on his shoulder, but only in words. Boxer dipped into the morose like fiction –- each tinge of gut-churning guilt and unsteady nostalgia welcomed in its beauty. Berninger sounded worn; sage and tense, bordering on batty, dapper but dampened, slurring lines about "prison for jerks" on "Guest Room," but still managing to woo anyone with a pulse on "Slow Show." Opener "Fake Empire" began Boxer with flawless execution — the closest thing we have to revving up with "Thunder Road" — and when we heard it, we knew it was a sweet-talker, not to be fully trusted, with a horn section so debonair and triumphant in its final coda that you forget the first two minutes stomped on your heart. In the summer, it was easy to call Boxer a quintessential record for New York City-type nights, but now it’s winter, our bones are cold and we can just stop at ’essential.’ from HERE.

The National Karen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been listenng to Boxer more an any other CD this year and I coundn't agree more.It's very complete and just so very pretty.