The National’s I Am Easy To Find is easy to get into and that’s definitely a good thing.
The National is one of the few band’s that got popular in the 2000s and didn’t go out of fashion in the 2010s. Even indie giants like The Killers have gotten a little stale this decade. The National, on the other hand, seem to have gotten genuinely better and more exciting as they have gotten older and time has moved on.
The new record is surprisingly experimental and daring. The track opener “You Had Your Soul With You” is playful and melodic while the lyrics are somber. Matt Berninger sings: “I have ordered to my heart every word I’ve said / You have no idea how hard I died when you left.” The rest of the album follows in the same suit.
“Oblivions” is tender and moving. It is not a poppy hit about young love but a more complex and thoughtful deliberation on a failing adult relationship. The track is a hidden gem between the more generic indie tracks like “Rylan.” At 63 minutes long, it is no wonder that some of the tracks are a little disappointing. Those that are good though are quite memorable.
“The Pull of You” is experimental and is a reminder of why The National have been dubbed as the “American Radiohead.” The strange sci-fi noises and overlapping melodies do indeed pull us in, as the track suggests. “Her Father In The Pool” is also intriguing and plays with the choral sounds which have been popular in 2019. The track is just one minute in length but acts as an interlude between the first and second half of the album.
“Where Is Her Head?” therefore acts as a second opening track and sucks us back in before we can get bored. The second half of the record is arguably weaker than the first but there are still some tunes. “Hairpin Turns” for example, has a real groove to it and the album closer “Lightyear” is quite powerful.
As far as eighth studio albums go, I am Easy To Find is a pretty decent attempt at staying relevant. The National still seems to be improving and obviously have plenty more to offer. What they offered today is a melodically interesting album with some genuine emotional depth.