Monday, December 21, 2009

Music Decade List #10: The National - Boxer (2007)

Boxer and The National were a slow grow on me. When I first heard the album, I thought it was fairly good but nothing to really fawn about. Numerous more listens in and I became hooked. The set of songs on Boxer are mean to be listened to repeatedly to really get deep down into what The National are doing. The opener, 'Fake Empire' starts off slow and simple but grows into a web of horns, guitar, drums, and piano that transport it somewhere beyond how it started. Nuance is the main theme here, as something as little as a drumbeat or a bass line make create a sound that is expansive yet incredibly refined. Matt Berninger's vocals are distinct and work with the moody sonic textures of songs like 'Mistaken For Strangers' and 'Green Gloves.' Then something like 'Apartment Story' comes along and shakes everything up with as much as a straight ahead rock song the band could come out with. It's such an accomplished studio accomplishment, using the studio to refine and enhance the material without sapping it of all life. The songs here on Boxer don't really differ that much from the band's earlier material but it polish show a band perhaps hitting its high water mark.

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