The National’s Strangest Lyrics: An Investigation

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Written by David James Young on May 16, 2019

From their humble Ohio beginnings to sell-out shows around the globe, The National have spent the last two decades ascending to the top of the indie food-chain. They’re festival headliners, Grammy winners and the centre of media like the documentary Mistaken for Strangers and the podcast Coffee & Flowers. They’ve got a brand-new album coming out this week, entitled I am Easy to Find, which is also accompanied by a short film and features collaborations with the likes of Sharon Van Etten and former David Bowie bassit Gail Ann Dorsey.

People have a deep, intimate connection to the music of The National, and anyone’s who’s given them even so much as a cursory listen can understand why that’s so. There is, however, one niggling thing that even the most die-hard fan can’t deny about the band: Their lyrics are often absolute headscratchers. Whether it’s an overly-elaborate metaphor or something strangely blunt in an otherwise sentimental song, vocalist Matt Berninger has more than a few instances throughout the band’s discography that have made listeners do a double-take.

Here, we’re going to look at 15 of the most peculiar, ridiculous or just plain hilarious lyrics from The National songbook. Think 15 is too many? Consider this: This is the edited list.

‘I am Easy to Find’ is out on May 17.

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