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The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

The National’s diverse, distinct ‘Sleep Well Beast’ fits evolving standards

GRAHAM MACINDOE/PRESS The National won Best Alternative Music Album at the 60th Grammy Awards this year for ‘Sleep Well Beast.’ They were nominated with bands like Arcade Fire and Gorillaz.

Editor’s Note: The grading system used here is similar to the 10-point scale used in SDSU courses.

Album: Sleep Well Beast
Artist: The National

“Sleep Well Beast” by The National is one of those albums to play in the car while driving away after a fight with your significant other. It doesn’t make you feel better, but it doesn’t make you feel worse, it’s just music in the background of your sniffling. It’s accompaniment to your momentary existential crisis.

With its unique musical phrases and meanings from start to finish. This is their best album yet.

The songs feel distinct from one another. It’s a rollercoaster that starts off with a rather somber sounding song, and the album as a whole has a dismal feel to it, but not every song sounds like it’s trying to make me cry.

The song “Walk It Back” is unique because it sounds more electronically influenced and it’s repetitive in its lyrics. But what keeps it interesting is the sampled speech they added in it toward the end.

“It’s basically someone saying, ‘yeah, we know what we’re doing. If we can control people’s understanding of what is true then we get to do whatever the “f—” we want. That’s been the secret strategy for a long, long time,” said Matt Berninger, the lyricist of the band.

One thing that works well on this album is that a lot of the lyrics tell a story. The song “Born to Beg” sounds like it’s about doing anything for love and as the lyrics say, “I was born to beg for you.”

In the song “Turtleneck,” there doesn’t seem to be a story with the lyrics. It’s kind of scattered all over the place, it might be about fashion or the rich and the poor, or it might just be an angry explosion of random events that just so happened to fall out into the phrases that became the lyrics.

“Turtleneck” works well with the rhythm of the song itself. It’s random with guitar licks and the eccentric guitar solo before the last chorus is wild. It brings a surge of musical energy to the middle of the album.

As music has evolved, the world has come to a mutual understanding that lyrics don’t always have to make sense. It is perfectly fine for an audience to not get the underlying meaning, and sometimes lyrics aren’t even understood by the artist.

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