Since 2007, the National have been one of our favorite bands. Together, we’ve seen them perform live at least eight times, playing to hundreds of people in a park to fifty in a small room in the Hudson Valley. We’ve posed for photos with the singer, Matt Berninger, and spent one evening in a giddy haze after he passed us one of his (many) half-consumed bottles of white wine from the stage. As siblings, the band has been one of the things we’ve bonded over the most, and something we’ve enjoyed sharing with each other. For us, they are a band for real New Yorkers: their songs capture the beauty and frustration of being liberal city dwellers, sharing tiny spaces with other people while feeling strangely removed from most of those around us. We really did grow up with them -- ten years is a long time to like anything -- and because the band has had such a pronounced role in our lives individually, but also as sisters, we thought it only made sense that we write about them together.
Last month the National released their 7th studio album, which is one of their best, and are now performing it to sold-out shows around the world. The National are one of the most beloved bands but most people have never heard of them, or at least couldn’t identify them by name. Considered to be “critical darlings” after their release of Alligator in 2005, they have a devoted fan following and success that has dumbfounded the corporate music industry. How could a group of middle-aged men who perform “sad sack songs” about very grown up things sell out arenas and pull in a fan base that includes teenage girls and rock and roll dads? How could any band get a stadium of artists, bankers, tech geeks, fashionistas, and parents to sing together, “I was afraid, I’d eat your brains.”Read More