The National — Boxer (2007)

If albums can take on the traits of seasons, Boxer is as autumnal as they come. Arriving amidst a flurry of praise, Boxer—the National’s fourth full-length—is subdued, gray and a lot like the last of the summer’s warmth being sapped away as leaves drift groundward.

But that’s not a bad thing. The band sounds like a blend of Tom Waits-style roots music with ‘80s underground rock, with heavy measures of U2, classic music and Leonard Cohen tossed in. Vocalist Matt Berninger mumbles casual, roundabout lyrics in a lazy baritone, dredging up self-deprecating scenes that are buoyed by humor. Drummer Bryan Devendorf is the real star here—he catapults the slower piano/string section-based songs along, and hems down the few loud tracks to an intense slow burn. This flip-flopping of the whole “loud song vs. soft song” convention is amazing.

And it’s all weirdly hopeful and beautifully done. Boxer just SOUNDS better than almost any album I’ve heard in a while, and for a year full of good releases, that says a lot.

-jason panella

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2 Responses to “The National — Boxer (2007)”

  1. erik Says:

    Outstanding album..check out their 2005 release “Alligator”. It is quite good as well.

  2. Jason Says:

    Agreed. Alligator is probably as good as Boxer–it’s more of a grower, but man…it’s…wow.

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