2007 in review: The NationalJanuary 19, 2008
The National – how I love thee. Their album Alligator, released at the end of 2005, may be the first CD that I’ve destroyed through overplaying (it hasn’t left my car for two years, and is now skipping uncontrollably), and they almost single-handedly elicited a trip to Chicago, where they played the 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival. Their 2007 followup, Boxer, with its gorgeously moody B&W photograph on the cover, matching the gorgeously moody music within, turned out to be worthy indeed, also going into permanent rotation and landing on a many a best–of–2007 list. But where The National really shone were in their live shows, which somehow manage to be compelling without being theatrical. I also love the way that the magnetic lead singer, Matt Berninger, can gracefully stand aside to let the musicians have the spotlight. I ended up seeing them four times, in three cities (and two countries!) in 2007, including two nights in a row at the Middle East, Cambridge, and they just keep getting better.