A fireplace album. An album you look toward for warmth and comfort. I’m usually with glass in hand either gazing back in time or introspectively in the moment. Whenever it seems to get a little cold outside, something innately brings me back to Boxer.
I’ve been a devout The National fan since their EP inception. Oft labeled “Kings of Dad Rock,” their melancholy speaks to me piquantly. However, I think too much value is placed on Berninger’s baritone gibberish vocals (will get to that in a second) and not enough attention is paid to the INCREDIBLE rhythm section and fantastic guitar. I hold the opinion that Bryan Devendorf is one of the best drummers in current music. It’s his beats that make Berninger’s admittedly empty symbols (thru cymbals) come alive. The rhythm section of Devendorf brothers turn words into art. Forget not, that beauty, that art, that any dogmatic belief is in the eye of the beholder. Empty enigmatic words can indeed be ethos through pathos. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Strangely, I’ve never seen The National in concert. I was scheduled to see them at the Royal Albert Hall in London when I was living there for a period but, apropos, London was hit with a series of horrible winter storms and the Tube was shut down for a few days. I hadn’t packed snow shoes nor an ice pick.
Every song on this album is very meaningful to me. It traces my adulthood trek. I’m currently 44 years old and time is certainly not slowing. However, I can flip this album on at any time and go time traveling. It may bring pain at points but those pains are now scars that I can now smile about fondly.
At one time, I would say this is my favorite album ever. It no longer possesses that title but it’s still not very far off. I’ve matured in life. It’s what we do. We keep going.
Favorite Tracks: All
Pressing: Beggars Banquet – BBQLP 252. Original Pressing. 2007.