Album Reviews · Reviews

Album Review: The National Quell Inner Demons In “Sleep Well Beast”

The National know how to make music that is picturesque and silencing to listeners. Sleep Well Beast is the name of their newest album, and also their seeming command to all inner demons that dare to rumble in counter of their musical beauty. The album ranges in various topics, from marriage to train tracks, but that is part of its charm and humility. From the biggest to the smallest things,The National have written a record on all the times our mind was drawn away from much needed and proper appreciativeness.


Now, an album can be interpreted in many ways, and part of my fascination with The National and their new record is that it plays like a literary fiction. Each song is laced with symbols and syntax readying for listeners to dissect them for inspiration. “I’ll Still Destroy You” , “Day I Die”, and “Turtleneck” wreak with the pain of men that have lost their passion and thus gratefulness for life. Divorce, wading friendships, and a simple dislike of yourself could make even a child’s laughter sound prickling. When you are in a dark space then it easy to see everyone according to darkness, which is why Berninger’s baritone vocals creep in like a ghost haunting his own home; he carries a mutual familiarity and distance. That duality draws in the humanity of listeners who can share the feeling of looking at your old home, old family, and old self as if they were all in a different life. Yet, The National’s Sleep Well Beast ranges in bliss and blame.Tracks like “Empire Line”,“The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”, and “Carin at the Liquor Store” pulse with tender, electric waves that feel like a dark, modern disco. Moreover, they feel like breathers of dance and delirium from the gutting sadness that can pervade this record. After all, Berninger is singing to his brazened attempt to conquer his inner “beast”, and grow in love with life, his band, and himself again. Hence, my previous gratitude reference stems from my own and any listeners’ understanding over what is to feel bored with your days but also eager to excite them again.

I have to say this The National album is excellent. It has a massively orchestrated feel that allows even their more experimental tracks such as, “Dark Side of The Gym” and “Sleep Well Beast” to feel like ornate opuses written by an Electro Mozart. You cannot take away the elegance of this album, and that it beats with a heart that is undeniable to their essence like, “Nobody Else Will Be There” and “Born To Beg”. Thus, what makes Sleep Well Beast truly stand out, beyond musical exploration, is that it is a testament to humanity’s constant search for joy. It does not end with marriage or divorce, it does not end on a dance-floor or in a house, and it does not end with age. In truth, the search grows, and with their seventh album, The National have grown so beautifully much as artists. Click Here For More Information On The National And To Buy Sleep Well Beast On September 8.