The National – Alligator (Beggars Banquet, 2005) – 94%
The thoughts were just crystallizing in my head about how little music has came out lately that has really made an impact or changed the indie music scene. My friend almost spoiled those thoughts when he gave me this record a few weeks ago after I had heard it in his car a few times. So, as a sample to an article Im about to write, this is a mini review of the record Alligator by The National.
During the first few times I heard the record in my friends car I liked it, but couldnt really hear its greatness. After listening to the record non-stop for the past month I have finally absorbed it. The record has the whole package of great lyrics and a wide array of melodies and rhythms. Calling the lyrics great is somewhat of an understatement. The lyrics are amazing and I havent heard anything this good for a while. Theyre thought provoking while lighthearted and humors yet sobering all the while telling great stories in a tone that is somewhere in-between Cash and Waits. The melodies and song structure compliment the poignant lyrics nicely. The structures dont just lull you into the typical verse / chorus / verse / chorus hum drum of everyday life. The National mixes it up a bit while not diving off the deep end and maintaining firm song structures. They have the ability to write a slower heartfelt songs with “Daughters of the Soho Riots”, “Val Jester”, and “City Middle.” While on the other hand, they crank up the amps on songs like “Able.” The most interesting songs are the ones that tell a complex story, but include lines in the middle that dont match up, such as “Karen”, “Secret Meeting”, and “Looking for Astronauts.” An example is the line You know you have a permanent piece of my medium sized American heart. As for this month, Alligator is my favorite record. My only regret is that I didnt get into these guys earlier. I highly recommend picking up this record ASAP.