You should be listening to this band. Really.
I got an e-mail telling me that they used one of my favorite bands, The National, in an episode of the TV show Cougar Town last night. I’ve heard some decent things about this show but can’t pull the trigger on it for 2 reasons: 1) It has Courtney Cox in it and I find her to be one of the least likable people ever to be on TV. Don’t know why, just something about her. I even disliked her when Bruce pulled her onstage at the end of the Dancing in the Dark video. (Which just happens to be one of the worst songs he ever did – coincidence? I think not.) And 2) They named the show Cougar Town. And yes, I know they made it into a running joke each week about how bad the name is, but the fact remains this is one of the worst TV show names ever. And that has to count for something. So this one will have to wait until it hits Netflix in a few years.
Anyway, being the geek that I am though I watched last night’s episode online just to see what song they picked and how they used it, and I have to admit I was impressed. The song they picked is called About Today, and it’s a fairly deep track off of
2007’s Boxer 2004’s Cherry Tree EP (wow, I’m an idiot, but you’ve probably figured that out already). So kudos to you Cougar Town people for some pretty great taste in soundtrack (no spoilers here, but if you watched the show, it was the song that played over about the last 3 minutes of the show, starting when they are on the beach).
Let me just take this time then to pimp out how unbelievably good The National are. My friend Paula likes to describe them as “dad rock,” which technically is true I guess since I like them and I’m a dad, but it misses the point. I’d also like to point out that Paula paid actual money for and enjoyed not one but two recent Kesha (I refuse to use the $!) concerts. Unironically even. I’ll be the first to admit that nobody in there right mind is putting most National tunes on their workout playlist or using them to “get the party started” as the kids like to say (so I’m told). The National craft slow burning, melodic songs that unveil themselves in layers after repeated listens. It’s wonderful, emotional music that does require something more than a cursory listen to fully enjoy. In that respect they are something akin to an American indie Radiohead, or, the two North American bands they are most often compared to, Wilco and Arcade Fire. Personally I describe their sound as a cross between Fables era R.E.M., Joy Division, and Leonard Cohen.
Anyway, rather than read me blather on about how good they are, give these a sample and decide for yourself. So here are some of my favorite songs from The National, in no particular order (well, at least the ones I could find on YouTube in a lunch hour):
Apartment Story (which is ironic, because in this video the band does indeed get the party started.)
Mr. November (rocking, Love the line “I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders.” The chorus is NSFW once you can make out the lyrics)
All the Wine (btw, this is one of the best fan made concert videos I’ve ever seen.)
The aforementioned About Today
So go forth buy some good music and spread the good word about the National.