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PO Now: The National - I Am Easy To Find

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10 hours ago, Derek™ said:

The guest features were described in great detail pretty early on, from what I recall.  Not that I expect every National fan to nerd out over the fine print of each press release, but I remember reading about it when the PO first went up and thinking “huh.  That’s... different”.

 

That being said, I’ve put 3 listens into the album over the week and I have to say it’s pretty fantastic.  Undeniably National in my opinion, even with all the guest spots.  Matt is very much present on the record.  It just feels like they have even more dynamics blended into their already-impressive roster of sounds.  This band’s discography is one of the most expansive and simultaneously consistent things I’ve ever heard, and it’s boggling to reflect on the ground they’ve covered in the last couple of decades.  There are so many A+ arrangements on this album, with piano and drums especially feeling right at home.  I’m eager to continue unpacking it with repeated listens, but so far it feels like the brighter counterpart to SWB’s glitch-riddled, moody atmosphere.  I’m stoked on it, and impressed that The National continue to carve out engaging notches into their belt after all this time.  Anyone “stuck” on the additional vocals are missing out, and I encourage them to approach them as supplemental brush strokes to the band’s canvas, and not as detractor’s from Matt’s spotlight.

this is a good post - but people / fans stuck on the vocals are not missing out. the 2nd verse guest vocal insert on rylan is really out of place and that song is the definition of overproduced compared to the KEXP and the SWB studio cut that's on youtube. i'm not saying every song is like that but this is definitely a concept / film album.

it's also long and bloated by 20 mins - length definitely doesn't help this and the BCC interludes are boring as fuck, they don't do or go anywhere. I'm guessing that's Aaron or Bryce's way of being "minimal" but it really detracts from the LP IMO.

i do agree with you that it's brighter vs SWB and it's definitely a grower...but i wish they brought in a producer who can reign in their talents and come out with a diamond

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13 minutes ago, hobbesthecat said:

this is a good post - but people / fans stuck on the vocals are not missing out. the 2nd verse guest vocal insert on rylan is really out of place and that song is the definition of overproduced compared to the KEXP and the SWB studio cut that's on youtube. i'm not saying every song is like that but this is definitely a concept / film album.

it's also long and bloated by 20 mins - length definitely doesn't help this and the BCC interludes are boring as fuck, they don't do or go anywhere. I'm guessing that's Aaron or Bryce's way of being "minimal" but it really detracts from the LP IMO.

i do agree with you that it's brighter vs SWB and it's definitely a grower...but i wish they brought in a producer who can reign in their talents and come out with a diamond

I don't know, I threw the album on again this afternoon and it continues to get better and better – true of all National albums, really – but to each his own.  The National aren't my favorite band of all time and I don't think IAETF is AOTY or anything, but the record is really proving to tighten up with repeated listens.  Will agree that it does feel a little winded at parts, but I can make way more heads-and-tails of it compared to earlier this week.

 

Going forward, I'd be really cool with a "traditional" National album and lineup.  This release does some cool, experimental things for the band that proves they can keep it fresh – for better or worse – after two decades.  But 1 film-tied, slew-of-guests album is probably enough for me.  (Personally speaking.)

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they've kinda snuck into the position of being my favourite band (i just realised it when paying $240 for 2 tickets to the beacon theatre show (and i guess ordering 3 variants of IAETF)), but in truth i haven't LOVED any releases since boxer (i mean LOVED loved).

 

the main appeal of the national is their live performances in my opinion, and i've never been to one of their shows and not been blown away.

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6 hours ago, AdamJNovak said:

Received my amazon order of the deluxe 3LP version, but of course, it was only the standard black. A replacement is coming tomorrow but who knows if it will be right? Fingers crossed it is... 

that sucks, but they're usually good with returns/replacements, and that prime shipping on the replacements does kinda ease the pain.

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1 hour ago, Derek™ said:

I don't know, I threw the album on again this afternoon and it continues to get better and better – true of all National albums, really – but to each his own.  The National aren't my favorite band of all time and I don't think IAETF is AOTY or anything, but the record is really proving to tighten up with repeated listens.  Will agree that it does feel a little winded at parts, but I can make way more heads-and-tails of it compared to earlier this week.

 

Going forward, I'd be really cool with a "traditional" National album and lineup.  This release does some cool, experimental things for the band that proves they can keep it fresh – for better or worse – after two decades.  But 1 film-tied, slew-of-guests album is probably enough for me.  (Personally speaking.)

I’m with you 100% on this post and would like to buy you a beer sometime

 

im a little bummed just because the ntl were my fav for a long time...but I feel like they taken a step back with the last 2 LPs. Some really cool songs on each but overall as a whole not strong

 

get Steve albini in with them...he’ll just nap at the upstate NY studio but chime in when needed

 

my current #1 is Radiohead

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1 hour ago, Shitty Rambo said:

Not liking this album at all. Feels like an expanded EP and not a proper National album. Hopefully that changes over time, but so far I think this record stinks. :/

kinda tend to agree, with the added disappointment that the lyricism seems a lot more first-draft-wordsalad, a lot less refined than previous efforts. i also find myself more likely to cringe at certain lyrics than to chuckle, seems Matt's really traded in the clever non-sequitur narrative style for a much more straightforward, even cliched one. 

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Also, for what it's worth, during the EL VY tour, an inside source told me that The National was working on their final album and planned to do a year of touring after and then hang it up "at least for a long time". 

 

It seems like this project may have reinvigorated the band. They weren't ever going to just make a 'typical National record' just to make it. I have no idea what's next now, but listening to this record in the right setting has been a great experience. I can't get enough. 

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I still need to give the album multiple listens but I’m not too impressed so far. I’m sure this will change over time as I think most of their albums are growers. I also think it says a lot for an artist when there isn’t a consensus on their best. I gotta say though, for me, it’s Sleep Well Beast. I was kind of hoping they would slink back to that darker tone with this one. 

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Back when SWB was recorded, the band stated in several interviews that they had a wealth of new content that was written alongside the SWB material, but that a lot of it was decidedly too "bright" to accompany the album.  I'm pretty sure I read that around the time the album dropped, they weren't sure what to do with all the unused music... whether it would come in the form of a new album around the corner, EPs down the road, etc.  Someone (Matt?) claimed there was "about an album's worth" of ideas and songs that didn't make it onto SWB, and I think we're getting a lot of them on IAETF.  I do enjoy the layers, depth, and tone of SWB – for sure – but even before this album's conception, I'm fairly sure it was made known that their next output would be notably brighter and upbeat.

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1 minute ago, januarytwenty said:

Sucks that we had to wait this long for a disappointment. 

For a band that typically releases an album every 3-4 years, it's only been a year and a half since their last LP.

Additionally, 4AD announced the new album on March 5th – a month and a half ago.

But okay.

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