Run Along Now, And Let the Grown-Ups Rock

A Recurring Segment On Fostering a Refined and Stylish Appreciation for the Modern Musical Arts.   

POST #1:  THE NATIONAL and Introduction
With this year's Grammy Awards now long gone, and the (majority of the) results of said show serving as a mere testament to the critical and utterly depressing condition of the music industry as a whole, the time has come to combat musical ignorance on every front possible.  If you, my dear reader, find yourself scratching your head at the concept of ridiculously adorned, auto-tuned degenerates dominating the airwaves of a once sane nation--you are not alone.  The fact is, the popular music scene as a whole has become nothing more than a bucket full of mass-produced, unoriginal abominations that we as Americans are subsequently waterboarded with each time we turn on the radio.  Should you believe what the "Top 40" subliminally tells you, you'd probably think that there are only about 20 musicians on the entire planet left alive.  Luckily, these artists have committed their miserable existence to ensuring radio towers across the globe remain suicidal--begging for a tornado to put them out of their misery so they can stop hurting innocent people's ears.  (At this rate I'm going to be forced to add "Insanely Cynical" to this blog's header.)  But alas, there is hope.  Fortunately for those of us who have resisted the urge to reshape our eardrums with an electric drill rather than hear another verse of the newest Nickelback single, there are still artists who take pride in the art form that is music--musicians that believe songs should be about experimentation, passion, exploration, and progress rather than the number of illegitimate children your newest single is indirectly responsible for.  It's time to get some maturity to your's time to rock with the grown-ups.

As this is primarily a style blog, you may be wondering why this has anything to do with the life and style of the modern, refined gentleman.  However, I would like to submit that a man's musical tastes can tell you more about him than nearly anything else.  With a smart, intelligent lifestyle, there must also come an appreciation for the finest works of art.  Refined style, refined taste.

Which leads me to the featured band of this particular installment--The National.  Formed in 1999 and now sporting an impressive collection of 5 full albums (not counting EPs), the boys of The National are some of the very best on the modern indie music scene.  Known for their silky smooth baritone vocals (sung by Matt Berninger) and flawless mixture of a plethora of instrumentation, the Brooklyn natives have created a unique sound that feels both sophisticated and modern, while consistently delivering a powerful sense of emotion with catchy vocal harmonies layered in a virtually endless wall of sound.  I first stumbled upon the band's album Boxer back in 2009 and was instantly hooked.               

My two favorite albums happen to be their two latest--Boxer (2007, above right) and High Violet (2010, above left).  Each has a distinctiveness about it, but the overall feel of the albums retains the chill, intricate, and poetic vibe that I've come to expect from this rare American gem.   Some of my favorites from these albums include:

Boxer:  Mistaken for Strangers, Apartment Story, Squalor Victoria, and Fake Empire
High Violet:  Anyone's Ghost, Afraid of Everyone, Bloodbuzz Ohio, and Conversation 16

If you're wondering why I chose these guys to start off this blog segment, I shall refer you to the band picture above.  The guys are sharp--not only in their music, but also in their style.  In fact, you'll hardly ever see singer Matt Berninger in anything but a suit on stage.  Dressed-up, rock-n-roll cool...the kind reminiscent of other rock greats like the Beatles and the Zombies.  Make no mistake, these guys will leave you wondering why you haven't treated your ears to something so incredible sooner rather than contemplating that horrible electric drill idea.  Give these guys a listen...I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

And as a parting gift, I leave you with one of my favorite singles from The National from their Boxer album--Apartment Story.  Happy Listening!



  1. Dude, I heard this song awhile back and have been looking for these guys, I thought it was a ballad from a late 60s early 70s that I had missed. I will definitely be checking more out, now that I know the band. Thanks for yet another educational post.