Listening to The National

by thecustomhouse

Again and again and again.  Especially the middle one, obviously, for the opening lines alone.

Of Matt BerningerMatt and his wife, Carin, not yet married then, were breaking up and getting back together frequently, “trying to resist the person you might end up with,” as Carin puts it. Fragments of their life were feathered into lyrics. One night, Carin accused Matt of being in search of an “out–of-this-world person who’s a pure fantasy,” by telling him he was going through life “looking for astronauts,” which soon became the title of a song. (NYT)

Of the band’s family dynamicRock groups are always calling themselves bands of brothers, but the National truly does function, and dysfunction, like a big Midwestern family. They express their caring for one another in the time-honored fraternal way, with bickering and insults. Because they all agree that Matt is the most mature, they are hardest on him. “Basically the band is like this,” Bryan said. “Matt’s the dad. Scott’s the long-suffering wife. I’m the black-sheep uncle. Aaron and Bryce are the twin daughters who like to control their parents.” Scott’s take on the twins is that “they argue and fight with each other about stupid things until someone else says something and then they join together and try to defeat him.” Another thing nobody disputes is that Scott is “the nicest” of the group. (NYT)

Of the Dessner twinsAs twins with bowl haircuts, Aaron and Bryce shared one baseball-card collection, played all games side by side and slept in a room with identical pairs of fixtures and furniture pieces. Every morning, Bryce would take a shower and then leave the water on for Aaron to follow. They were so close, always understanding each other in such a primary way, that when they communicated, other people couldn’t always make out what they were saying. (In the band, this is known as the twins’ “pillow talk.”) Today, though they live in separate Brooklyn houses, their bond remains so intense that when they return to Ohio with their girlfriends, they would rather the four of them sleep (platonically) in their two childhood beds than take advantage of the guest room. (NYT)