12 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nearly 20 years into the band's career, The National have reached a status attained only by the likes of Radiohead: a progressive, uncompromising band with genuinely broad appeal. Produced by multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner in his upstate New York studio (with co-production from guitarist Bryce Dessner and singer Matt Berninger), Sleep Well Beast captures the band at their moody, majestic best, from the propulsive “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” to “Guilty Party,” where Berninger’s portraits of failing marriage come to a sad, gorgeous, and surprisingly subtle head.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nearly 20 years into the band's career, The National have reached a status attained only by the likes of Radiohead: a progressive, uncompromising band with genuinely broad appeal. Produced by multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner in his upstate New York studio (with co-production from guitarist Bryce Dessner and singer Matt Berninger), Sleep Well Beast captures the band at their moody, majestic best, from the propulsive “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” to “Guilty Party,” where Berninger’s portraits of failing marriage come to a sad, gorgeous, and surprisingly subtle head.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
187 Ratings

187 Ratings

A critic's critic ,

"I can't explain it...", but I'll try.

Words could never do justice to the superior quality of music that this band never fails to produce. With the exceptions of Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, and Sigur Ros, this band has no equal in the indie world in regards to production and song writing. Their unfailing commit to detail and innovation is no "secret" on this track, as key board, guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, piano, and gorgeous background vocals simultaneously shine individually, while also complementing and interweaving into Matt's brooding vocals. A song writing trick that the national have mastered and appears in this song, is the use an additional refrain section that appears later on in the song. After the verse and chorus are established, the unexpected refrain, "I can't explain it...", comes out of nowhere, and ends up being the gorgeous highlight and finish of this song. The vibe of "The System" is more experimental, and brings Aaron's sharp riff-based guitar to the forefront of the mix - a welcome change in my opinion. The production has more of the muscle and punch of "Boxer", but still retains the nuance and detail of "High Violet." In short, the National's streak of unfailing consistency, and engrossing depth of quality continues, and this song will prove to be a new classic amongst the other new classics to come. Bottom line: This is a "System" I actually want to be a part of. And "I can't explain it any other way."

adrianrcarter ,

Beauty and the Beast

This single bodes extremely well for things to come. Somehow the arrangement and textures achieve both precision and abandon. These dudes are locked in, focused, and creative. The beast sleeps well indeed.

Monksareit ,

Keeping music alive.

The National never disappoint. We've waited like patience on a monument for this.

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