Shortcut—The National’s Boxer

By Oliver Mosier

Success isn’t for everyone. Sure, most people want to achieve it, yet, given the chance, not all people possess that indefinable characteristic of sustainability. In a few years, Britney Spears went from the cover of Rolling Stone to the target demographic of Trailer Park Quarterly. Holding onto fame and success just isn’t that easy. The newest album from The National, though, hints at their ability to retain success.

2005’s Alligator was a superb album that launched the band into the stratosphere. Boxer demonstrates that the band belongs in the company of the musical elites with whom it was placed two years ago. Alligator was no fluke.

The voice of lead singer Matt Berninger haunts the listener; it is an unmistakable and irreplaceable element. If you liked Alligator, you’ll love Boxer. The maturation of the band can be heard on nearly every track.

The mood that emanates from Boxer is one of melancholic beauty. The eccentric lyrics musically blend with the unconventional sound of the band. In one song, Berninger sings that “you get mistaken for strangers by your friends,” a line that perfectly captures the mood produced by The National. They embrace their anxieties and neuroses in an attempt to mold them into art. One should not forget that the greatest art is often created by the greatest pain. While Boxer is not overly depressing, the style of the music, the odd lyrics, and the unique voice of the lead singer all contribute to a general feeling of gloom.

Success is fleeting. The National have embraced their relative fame by producing an album that exceeds all expectations. The path chosen by The National is one that Mr. and Mrs. Federline never ventured down. The former is here to stay, and, thankfully, the latter has gone the way of William Hung and crystal Pepsi: into a sea of oblivion.