The National, “Demons” from Trouble Will Find Me (2013): One Track Mind

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I do try to keep an open mind. As a person wades through the endless stream of new music, the tendency to be closed off to any particular current can result in missed opportunities. And while the chances are fairly high that you would be unaware of the nugget that floated by, that’s still no reason to just shrug your shoulders and let the situation pass.

This is why I occasionally revisit songs, albums, and artists that have long lived in my “Bleah” bin. You just never know when revulsion might turn into resonance.

So the night before last, I saw a comment indicating that a new song from The National was about to drop…the comment ended with a snarky “I hope it breaks.” There’s always so much hyperbole surrounding this band — pretty much on the critics’ darlings end of the scale — that this kind of honesty is fairly rare. I figured that maybe it was time for a re-visit.

You can listen to the stream of “Demons” above. I gave it several tries and to be honest, there’s nothing there for me. I get that there are fans out there and they truly love them some National. Why that is will remain a mystery to these ear parts. The music never rises above generic indie rock. Yes, I know that that description lacks detail, but that is exactly my point. Am I supposed to get excited about the tepid guitars? The drums that fail to draw a distinction between three and seven? Add to that Matt Berninger’s expressionless, zombified baritone and you have three and a half minutes of almost nothing. Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to mention the lyrics. That’s because they were buried in the instrumental mud.

Did the song break? No, but the endless somber tone coupled with the flat indie drone made this “amazing” leaden piece of mumble-pop crack the sidewalk.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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