The National | Boxer
Ten years after The National gifted fans with their fourth studio album, Boxer,the record still invokes the spirit of a hopeful and buoyant optimism for life overall—even in self-identifying broody pessimism. After listening to the special gray pressing the band released to commemorate the 10 year anniversary, that feeling is only amplified.
The low resonance of Matt Berninger reassuring “So worry not, all things are well” dances off the turntable’s needle as if that moment he spoke of belonged forever pressed on the whirling record.
The record paints a daydreamy sunrise of a night spent running far away from worries or troubles (just for a little while) in “Fake Empire” and draws out the melancholy dusk of detachments during a relationship with “Gospel,” while still aptly describes the trials and tribulations of a young adult’s social life 10 years later.
Each song’s near-hymn-like piano chords (played by brothers Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner) and the distant pulse of Bryan Devendorf ’s percussion intertwining with Scott Devendorf’s (also a set of brothers) ever-wavering bass rhythms all gravel on the pressing, fitting together like a puzzle showing the proper outlook one should have toward life.
The last song on Side A before quieting the first half of the album, titled “Green Gloves,” twirls in the ear with downhearted lyrics describing how taking on the same clothes and interests of someone whose presence is lost in one’s life can ultimately recreate them alive in the mind. This act of reanimation conjures to the listener a significant concept in the album: the beauty of melancholy.
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