The National are known for their obsession with sex, love, death and relationships through their musical expressions. Whether it’s dainty piano notes or quickened drum beats, lead singer Matt Berninger’s iconic voice, often comparable to Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, strings the pensively sad lyrics into indie-rock instrumentals.
Their eighth and new album, I Am Easy To Find, strikes with a force, bringing new attributes to the table. Not only is it the longest recorded album so far, but nearly every track also features female vocalists. I Am Easy To Find includes Lisa Hannigan, Sharon Van Etten, Mina Tindle, Kate Stables, and Gail Ann Dorsey, David Bowie’s former bandmate, heard on “Oblivions,” “Roman Holiday” and “Hey Rosey.”
Another female contribution is Berninger’s wife, Carin Besser, who also wrote several songs. Her optimistic, romantic lyrics bring the band into a new fold, differing from the well-known difficult lyrics highlighting self-loathing and shattered relationships.
Berninger’s deep, sunken baritone lifts and soars through his wife’s lyrics, inviting listeners into music more hopeful than before.
In their 2013 album Trouble Will Find Me, the album finished with the melancholic track “Hard to Find,” and since then, it seems they’ve changed their minds.