A few years ago, any blogger who was featuring The National would probably have needed to provide all sorts of background information on a band that was seemingly destined for nothing more than critical acclaim. Three albums released between 2001 and 2005 sold in modest numbers.
Things changed a lot in 2007 with the release of Boxer. It topped all sorts of end of year polls and the band began to get a lot of mainstream exposure in the USA with regular appearances on the late night chat shows that pull in tens of millions of viewers. The LP didn’t crack the charts but instead sold enough copies over an extended period of time to provide The National with a much wider fan-base and so create a platform for a concerted crack at fame and fortune which duly came in 2010 with High Violet, a record that went Top 10 in the album charts the world over.
The career trajectory is similar to that experienced two decades ago by R.E.M.
Just as similarly, there is a bit of a backlash against the band with fans of old accusing them of selling-out and releasing material that is far inferior to that of the poorly-selling early years. This fan disagrees although will admit to being a wee bit let down by Trouble Will Find Me that was released at the beginning of 2013….and by the fact that the recent UK and Ireland tour completely omitted gigs in Scotland. I’m almost certain they will end up on the bill of T in the Park 2014 but that’s no consolation at all for those of us who hate festivals/outdoor gigs.
In the meantime, here’s my favourite single of theirs backed with an absolute belter of a song that was wasted as a mere b-side:-
mp3 : The National – Mistaken For Strangers
mp3 : The National – Blank Slate