The second single to be lifted from this year’s superb Boxer LP (review) hits the listener with another distinctive and expertly performed drum line courtesy of Bryan Devendorf. Coupled with the layered U2-like chorus, this is another radio-friendly slice of The National. Firmly rooted in the subject of a close loving relationship, frontman Matt Berninger sings: “Tired and wired we ruin too easy, sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave... stay inside our rosy-minded fuzz... we’ll be alright, we have our looks and perfume”.
However, it’s the B-side that makes this a must-have.
Covering a track such as the Boss’ 1982 Nebraska classic ’Mansion on the Hill’ is not to be taken lightly. However, there are few acts on the current scene better placed to do so than The National. Replacing Bruce’s lonesome harmonica with melancholic violin backed up by dual finger-picked electric guitars, the band manage to bring, with finesse, a renewed vigour to this classic haunting weepy. Bryce Dessner’s subtle shimmering delays accompanied by sweeping strings lay a perfect foundation for Berninger’s resigned baritone. His vocal bestows a newfound sense of mystery to the song. As if he is sat, one late night, in his car overlooking this very hill recalling the memories of his childhood.
Springsteen’s original sparse lo-fi recording has been fully arranged and subtlety accompanied to produce a truly beautiful and graceful result. Even more impressive considering this is a live recording.
8Tom Milway's Score