Sunday 11.29.2009 | 4:23 AM EDT
Son of Boxer
I don’t have to remind you of my deep and abiding love for The National. Don’t argue, they’re the band of the decade. Finding their purchase with Alligator, Boxer was a mature, mesmerizing monster of a record. But when’s the last time you listened to their recording debut? It truly was a harbinger of great things to come from the Brooklyn lads. (All you real music critics out there, for god’s sake stop calling them Ohio transplants. Let a man escape his past, already.)
Few minutes ago my portable music playing device served up “Son” during a walk through Prospect Heights. For a long stretch, this song held the pole position on early National set lists. Boxer’s lush arrangements and literate understatement aside, this track runs a close race to make the Top Ten National Songs of All Time list. (There is no such list to date, but there will be. There will be.) Matt’s boozy tenor was never more resonant. The roomy production gives the song room to breathe (an asset only temporarily lost on their sophomore record). But I digress. Here’s where the real bias comes in:
It’s the drum part, stupid. Multi-tracked syncopated toms lift the song from Lapsed Catholic Ballad to Primal Paean. Shit. I think I sounded like Patrick Bateman reviewing Sussudio just then. Sorry. Can I distract you with the sweet cover photo of dashing drummer Bryan wiffle-balling in the pool? No? Then I better go now. I have to return some video tapes.
The National: Son
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