FEATURE: Ahead of Longitude, we pick our 10 favourite songs by The National
They're, arguably, the greatest American band since R.E.M. and they're playing Longitude next Sunday evening at Marlay Park in Dublin.
Ireland loves The National, with Matt Berninger and co. regular visitors to these shores since their breakthrough album Alligator was released in 2005.
A band that it's hard to pigeonhole, The National swing from melodic balladry to angry alt-rock and punk in the space of a single album.
Their latest record - Trouble Will Find Me - was an instant classic upon its release in 2013 and fans can expect new music from the Brooklyn (née Ohio) quintet within a year.
In the meantime, we've chose these our top 10 tracks from The National. Enjoy.
10. All The Wine (Cherry Tree EP/Alligator)
Proof that a band can sound vibrant and world weary at the same time. Nobody does sarcasm like Berninger, from those first words, "I'm put together beautifully..." throughout a classic of their early work.
9. Fake Empire (Boxer)
It may feel slightly overplayed and overused by politicians pretending to be in with the zeitgeist, but it's still arguably the greatest opening track in the band's catalogue.
8. Bloodbuzz Ohio (High Violet)
Once again, they nail the plight of the everyman with a single line... 'I still owe money, to the money, to the money I owe...'
7. Daughters Of The Soho Riots (Alligator)
The perfect 'first dance' song for people who would never dream of playing Rock The Boat at their wedding, this ranks alongside 'Runaway' and 'I Need My Girl' as one of the band's most outstanding moments of tenderness.
6. Conversation 16 (High Violet)
The perfect song to listen after a bad day at the office. Paranoid and trembling, the song is at odds with this silly promo video starring John Slattery. It doesn't really matter - who watches music videos anymore anyway?
5. Sea Of Love (Trouble Will Find Me)
"If I stay here... Trouble will find me... If I stay here... I'll never leave..."
A punch to the stomach of a song.
4. Humiliation (Trouble Will Find Me)
Pushing the drums of Bryan Devendorf to the fore while Berninger sings of suicidal LA women was a stroke of genius. Less is more, and any song with the lyrics 'As the freefall advances, I'm the moron who dances' is going to be just fine with us.
3. About Today (Cherry Tree EP)
Love will tear you apart.
2. Mistaken For Strangers (Boxer)
So good, they named an entire film after it.
Berninger has sung often about his career in advertising while the band struggled to gain its following, most notably in Squalor Victoria from the same album, but nothing gets to the root of what it feels like to be lost in a 9-5 job than the incredible Mistaken For Strangers.
1. City Middle (Alligator)
Hidden away towards the end of the band's breakthrough third album is, in my opinion, the perfect song in their canon to date.
It starts like a lullaby and builds into something truly incredible. The band closed with this during a seminal gig in Whelan's in November 2005, but have since (sadly) retired it.
You can understand why; Berninger has never been afraid to show his bones, but this goes deeper than anything he's written before or since.
Supported by Three. Music Lives Here.