Guest post: Top 10 songs by The National

In anticipation of The National's new album Trouble Will Find Me, out May 20, Eric from The Warning Sign was nice enough to step in this week and share his Top 10 songs by The National. Fun to get a different perspective, thanks a lot for putting this together!

Honorable mentions:
Exile Vilify (from the Portal 2 soundtrack)
Baby We'll Be Fine (Alligator)
Apartment Story (Boxer)
Slipping Husband (Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers)

10) So Far Around the Bend (Dark Was the Night)
One of the highlights from the 2009 charity album, Dark Was the Night, that also featured the likes of Spoon, Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear. I also imagine this is the best song ever made with a line about getting high through an apple.

9) Available (Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers)
Frontman Matt Berninger doesn't scream too often these days, so it's always fun to go back to "Available", an early cut that is one of the band's best rockers.

8) Abel (Alligator)
Another track where Berninger gets the chance to let loose. I feel for his vocal cords on this one.

7) Terrible Love [Alternate Version] (High Violet expanded edition)
This is the most polished and cleaned up version of the song, and it probably should have been released on the main album. A real treat to hear live.

6) Mistaken for Strangers (Boxer)
The first single from Boxer. Gloomy, but upbeat. Also serves as the title for the upcoming documentary about the band, which I am eagerly looking forward to seeing.

5) Bloodbuzz Ohio (High Violet)
An ode to the band's Ohio roots, perhaps (they are now in Brooklyn), this is an immensely catchy track. The best from High Violet.

4) All the Wine (Alligator)
It's no secret that Berninger likes to drink -- he seems to always have a bottle of wine on hand during concerts -- and this song is the perfect encapsulation of that feeling of invulnerability while drunk.

3) About Today (Cherry Tree EP)
Arguably the most depressing song in their catalog, but also among their most beautiful. Used to perfection in the 2011 film, Warrior.

2) Fake Empire (Boxer)
One of the great album openers, this is a slow burn that goes to a whole different level once the horns kick in. Probably the band's most popular song (it was used during Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign), and for good reason.

1) Mr. November (Alligator)
A popular live set closer, this is the song that is most fun to sing along to. A real fist pumper that became something of a rallying cry during the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.

Thoughts on the guest post, readers? As always, share your opinions in the comments below.

Expect more The National the next few weekends, when I (Chris) will be sharing my favorites from each album, and obviously conclude with a look at their new album, Trouble Will Find Me.

By the way, if you want to contribute a guest post here on the blog, feel free to contact me, and we'll sort something out. My e-mail can be found in the About Me section above.


  1. I haven't heard much from the band except a few albums including their new one but dammit, they're a fucking good band. I will definitely go see them in September and the best part is that the venue is only 10 minutes from my house.

    1. @thevoid99: That's pretty neat you have the venue almost on your doorstep! I've been listening to The National a quite a lot this year, can't wait to hear the new album.

    2. I'm going to be catching them this fall as well. Just secured tickets to see them with Frightened Rabbit and Local Natives at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. Cannot wait!

  2. Nice job, Eric! Abel and Sweet November are two of their great anthems. They played both when I saw them on the High Violet tour, and they were the highlights. I can't really dispute any of these picks. All the Wine is another strong pick. Depending on which album I've listened to a lot recently, it's easy for me to slot in a lot from that one. Very sharp list!

    1. Thanks Dan! I know exactly what you mean -- Alligator, Boxer and High Violet are all near-perfect albums, and my favorite changes by the day. The few tracks I have heard from the new album are quite good as well.

  3. I'm so terrible w/ contemporary bands Chris, I haven't even heard of The National. I might've listened to one of their songs on a local radio but I'm not sure, sorry!!

    1. @Ruth: Don't worry about it! There is so much stuff out there, that sometimes it can feel like information overload. Anyway, enjoy the top 10, if you have time to give it a listen.

    2. Hi Ruth, if you've seen the movie Warrior, a couple of their songs were used in that, including the final fight scene.

  4. Great list Eric. The National are one of my favorite current bands, can't wait for the new one.

    1. @Bonjour Tristesse: Thanks for reading! Looking forward to the new album too. Didn't know you liked The National.

    2. Thanks BT! Great to hear that you are a fan as well.

  5. "About Today" still kills me. I love the heartbreak of that song. And yes, used marvelously in Warrior.

    1. @Alex Withrow: I just rewatched the final scene of Warrior, and you're right, "About Today" was well picked, and adds to the moment.


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