Thursday, August 27, 2009

2004 : 03 "All The Wine" by The National

The National has always struck me as a band that's very much concerned with the project of narrating and interrogating what it means to be an adult male in the 21st century. For a taste of how they approach this project, you could check out their 2004 EP Cherry Tree. The seven songs here are models of male expression: from flirtatious and articulate to emotionally inept, from recklessly accusatory to sincerely conciliatory. No catalog of masculine musical modes, of course, is complete without a brag, and Cherry Tree contains a really good one in the form of its second track, "All The Wine." Listen to Matt Berninger's precision with language, his fresh approach to image and metaphor, and his controlled delivery. Dare to identify with the character he gives voice to here and you too can feel this confident, this competent, this, er, manly. You too can feel like you're put together beautifully. Like God is on your side.

Jeremy Bushnell

Listen: The National >> "All The Wine"

1 comment:

Jamie Yates said...

Great write-up, and talk about refreshing.

It's almost a relief to find music that eloquently discusses masculinity without having to resort to "cock rock" or Gene Simmons-esque stereotypes.

The music world is rightfully full of female singer/songwriters who express gender issues and feminist ideas. Sadly, there's not as much with the opposite chromosome.