Mr November

I like this picture of a Lego record shop, not that it’s related to the rest of the post.

Someone asked me recently what I thought of The National and then got a bit huffy when I said ‘yeah, they’re alright’. ‘What do you mean, alright, don’t you like them?’ he said. ‘Yes, they’re alright’ I replied (that’s a good alright, not a ‘weeell, they’re alright I suppose’- can you see the difference? I could. He didn’t). They are alright- I quite like some of their stuff, not so fussed about a full album, some good songs that bear repeated listening (Apartment Story is stunning). And this one, I really like- it’s more than alright.

I met Drew for a few beers the night before last. He was in town for work so we met in Didsbury’s Old Cock and we talked about the things middle aged bloggers talk about- life and families; car troubles; The Clash, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones; that forthcoming Mary Chain box set; various Weatherall remixes; our favourite albums of this year so far (me- Asphodells, him- Daniel Avery); the Mercury Prize (yawn); how since turning 40 the lives of people around us have turned to shit; loss and illness; scooters and cycling, giving up smoking….

So, Drew (and L, Max and Leo), Tony (DVD), Davy, David (and the girls), Jacque and John, Harvey and Sam, Rachael and anyone else I’ve missed who’s been through the mill recently one way or another, this song- a valedictory tale of a middle aged man looking back at his youth when he used to be ‘carried in the arms of cheerleaders’ and raging against the dying of the light- is for us, for all of us.

Mr November

We’ll Stay Inside ‘Til Somebody Finds us

I posted The National’s cover of The Clash’s Clampdown last month and in the meantime have found myself going back to this song, from their Boxer album in 2007. If all their songs were as good as this one I’d love The National. It’s got a lovely, insistent rhythm and tells a tale of a couple holed up in their apartment, taking comfort in each other, safe inside with four walls and the TV, while the cruel, relentless, adult world waits outside. At least, that’s what I hear.

It’s The Best Years Of Your Life They Want To Steal

The National, Amerindie darlings, cover one of The Clash’s finest moments- Clampdown. Slowed down, half whispered-half sung vocals, acoustic guitars and finger picking. It doesn’t really match the subject matter (kicking over the walls, causing governments to fall, you wearing blue and brown and working for the clampdown) but it’s a good attempt at doing something different and it works pretty well.

I like The National in small doses but I lose interest over a whole album. Some of their songs, Apartment Story say or Mr November, I’ve listened to loads but I can’t get into the whole thing, and I’m not sure why.