I’ve thought about this (a lot!) and I think mine is Brainy. It’s got all the things I love about a National song, the urgency, the sweet sense of doom, the weird lyrics that somehow hit way too close to home, the dominant drums that were always one of my favourite things about the band… (I would mention a close second but I can’t cause rules say pick only one 🧤)
What’s your favourite National song and why? (You can only pick one)
I’ll Still Destroy You
And the drums at the end!
It was that one perfect song that comes along at that one perfect point in your life.
To me, I think it’s the best song ever written and recorded, ever.
CAUSE I’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’M EVIL!
The build on this song is genius.
“I was afraid… I’d eat your brain”
This was my top played on Spotify last year, and I bet it’s going to be my top played this year. I just love the feeling it gives me and I crave listening to it because of that.
Definitely one of my first favorites!
I wanna believe in everything you believe
It’s the perfect combination of romance and winter and drums.
Slow Show. Just for the end part: “You dreamed about you…I missed you for 29 years” (I know the lyrics go back earlier,but they are perfection here).
A perfect love song. “I want to hurry home to you…”
I think this might have been my other answer too. There is just something about this song.
Especially the live versions with the build and crescendo toward the end.
I instantly thought about this song when I read the title
Guilty Party. The song. Where it fit in my present at the time. All of it.
This Is The Last Time. I can’t even fully explain why but I’ve just been in love with that song since first listen. The guitar riff, the vocal delivery, the outro. Cinematic and beautiful tune.
Don’t Swallow the Cap.
“When they ask, what do I see? I say a bright white beautiful heaven hanging over me “.
My introduction to the band. Been hooked ever since.
That line is delivered so well.
Have a vague feeling it’s related in some way to an 80s British novelty song “Hey, Matthew, what do you see when you’re sitting alone watching TV”
I always thought of it like a rorschach image and the narrator is trying to convince himself everything is fine
Day I Die was my introduction but Don't Swallow came at such a fitting time for me at a really uncertain point in my life where I felt unable to ask for help out of embarrassment of my situation. So happy that was one of the first songs I listened to.
🥰 me too. So glad I saw this tour at Red Rocks
Hard to Find
Reposting (part of) an older comment of mine:
Baby We'll Be Fine.
The first time I saw them live I knew nothing of their music and I walked away thinking "I gotta listen to that I'm so sorry for everything song again".
For me, it encapsulates all of of the anxiety and imposter syndrome I feel as an adult trying to adult and convince my wife that I have everything under control, that it will all work out in the end.
I 100% agree. This would be my choice as well, and honestly I feel you have encapsulated exactly what I would have said. Especially the part about convincing my wife that everything will work out in the end. Well said sir!
There is something is the song that is comforting while also on the razors edge of “despair”.
Honestly I just have a special emotional connection with High Violet in general. But this song following terrible love… I mean It’s just perfect. It captured a feeling of being depressed when I was at a low point in my life that was like a warm blanket. I love the subtle nuanced vocal delivery in the chorus.. all of it is just right. I’ve probably listened to it 1,000 times by now.
I also love that they did a performance art set at a museum where they played only the song sorrow for like 2 hours or whatever. Because I could listen to it for that long, just on repeat. It really puts me in a place.
Same answer for me… except it was over 6 hours and I’ve experienced watching it all in sequence so it’s hard to top that song for sure.
Quiet Light. That bridge gets me everytime and the chorus is perfection.
All Dolled Up In Straps cuz Matt’s baritone is just so perfectly extra sexy.
About today! Before my grandmother died we made the deal that I could choose the music on her funeral. I chose About today. Now everytime I hear this song I think about all the great memories I have with her. Hearing them play this song live at Lowlands Festival was so intense. Happy they played it live but at the same time so emotional. I hope the play it again in september, now with my girlfriend by my side.
This was the first song I heard from them and it was a live ACL performance that I randomly saw on TV. I kept thinking about it afterwards and that's how I discovered the band. I super like the longer live versions of this song.
Especially the lyric, “If I die this instant / taken from a distance / they would probably list it down among other things ‘round town” The songwriting in all of their songs is indescribable, but in Humiliation it just hits so hard.
Humiliation to me perfectly captures what dissociation feels like. I’m also a big fan of the line “I was teething on roses”
Now I won’t ever hear this song without thinking of how it feels like dissociation.
There are a few songs that hit me like freight trains in my 20s. This was the very first one I experienced. Perfect song, first listen at the very perfect time. It just had a huuuuge impact on me and I can transport myself to that moment anytime I hear the song.
Oh, 100%. I’m 22, almost 23, and Humiliation hits closer to home every single day.
I’m a recent convert to this one. It’s incredible and I can’t believe I had under rated it for so long.
Pink Rabbits. Just cause.
oooh city middle
All the Wine.
It was my introduction to the National. So much nostalgia.
The intro song always hits hard
Came here to say almost the exact same thing. I love everything about it. The false, alcohol-fueled bravado of the subject, it's a devastating song and yet some of the lines make me laugh a little.
Terrible Love. I've been obsessed since 2010. It's got to be in my top 10 songs of any artist ever!
It takes an ocean not to break
My friend has that tattooed on her. I may follow suit!
I hear this! It was one of the first songs of them I’ve heard and I’ve played it countless times since
It wasn't the first National song I heard by far, but I swear that listening to it just changed me...
What I would give to listen to it for the first time again...
That opening riff gives me serotonin hits every time I hear it
YESSS! Okay, now I have to listen to it. Quitting the song I'm listening to now!
Not going to do it. Can’t choose.
Same, cheating by upvoting a bunch of ones I love
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
The song resonated with something I was going through at the time. I also love the layers of this song. I had vaguely liked the National before SWB, but this song made me go back in their catalog and appreciate more what came earlier. I saw them live for the first time on that tour, and they blew me away.
This changes so often for me.
Some days it's Graceless, some days it's Geese, some days it's Quiet Light.
All of these songs, and so many more, are in contention for this spot, and it is impossible for me to just pick one.
Yeah it’s really hard.. even just by looking at the answers I’m questioning myself cause I have at least a top 5 easy
I Need My Girl
Terrible Love (album version--yes, I know I'm in the minority of preferring that to alt version!)
Great lyrics that speak to anxiety (which I have)--"It takes an ocean not to break," etc.
And the key change for the last chorus just really hits me for some reason
Plus Matt yelling
The guitar in this song, opening of High Violet, is what made me fall in love with the band. It’s so dirty and has that shoegaze-y wall of sound feel that just swept me up completely.
Dark Side of the Gym
Great choice. I saw them do this and Leonard Cohens’ Memories back to back on that tour and it was perfect
Lemonworld. The drums, for one.
But: “lay me on the table put flowers in my mouth and we can say that we invented a summer lovin torture party” feels like Matt’s mission statement as a lyricist.
Hard To Find
Walk It Back. It just came to me at the perfect time. Unique and brilliant.
Quiet Light is the ultimate The National song for me. It proves that pretty straightforward separation song might still be a masterpiece. So sad and so beautiful that it make me want to cry, no matter how many times I listen to it. It makes me want to close my eyes, forget about everything else and just catch every second of this music. And the lines “I'm not that spiritual / I still go out all the time to department stores / Everything I need / But none of this is getting me anywhere good” might be my favorite ever.
Yessss, I think it's one of the most beautifully devastating songs ever written. Something we've all been through, something we all don't know how to express.
Gospel, it just feels like home to me and invokes deep feelings of happiness and nostalgia...
Carin at the liquor store
Solid choice. I feel like this song doesn’t get much appreciation, but it’s one of my favorites off SWB.
this. it’s not the “best.” it’s not the one I’d send to sell a friend on the national. but it’s a waltz and it’s beautiful and it captures in perfect detail the magic of falling for someone who’s out of your league all at once and achingly slowly and forever.
Mistaken for Strangers. Nothing better than the line “another un-innocent elegant fall into the un-magnificent lives of adults”
Yeah, that line is exactly what I love about this band.
Mistaken For Strangers, no contest. not the first song I ever heard of theirs (that would be Fake Empire) but it’s the song that hooked me
If I have to choose one it would be Pink Rabbits! It was the first song to get me hooked on the band, so I love it for sentimental reasons. Also the lyrics still hit hard in the best way even after listening for a decade lol
Yeah, never getting bored of that one. The lyrics are amazing, so many lines that hit hard
I am easy to find.
90-Mile Water Wall
Sea Of Love, hands down. The frantic beat of the drums tempered by Matt's calm vocal is just brilliant. I will never tire of that, most beautiful song.
This could be mine, too. Definitely their best single.
I took the medicine and I went missing…
Soho. So achingly beautiful.
How can anybody know how they got to be this way?
I’ll probably be the only one…..nobody else will be there….for whatever reason the song just hits me.
I love a bunch of the others and some days geese may take the spot or terrible love…but if I really had to listen to one of them over an over well it would nobody else will be there
I get it and for me too it’s up there. There was a long period in my life where it was the only song I listened to, non stop all day.
Conversation 16. It's the one I enjoy the most and have stuck in my head most.
‘Afraid of Everyone’…the build up and the release!
This is the one that got me hooked. The live version from Sydney where Matt goes crazy.
As a dad who often had a kid on his shoulders it just hits deep…
Guilty Party. If you go through my comment history you know why. (If you don’t want to: it saved my life amid a suicide attempt)
Don’t Swallow the Cap.
“I’m tired, I’m freezing, I’m dumb / When it gets so late, I forget everyone / I need somewhere to stay / I don’t think anybody I know is awake”
I love the song so much and it’s remained my favorite for a long time. The lyrics I’ve referenced above are my favorite part of the song and I relate to them so deeply. That feeling of not knowing where to go or what to do when feeling at your lowest all because it’s inconveniently late at night is so relatable.
I really find a connection to this song with my own personal dealings with depression.
I love how you described it. Feeling at your lowest because it’s too late at night.. depression is exactly like that
Start a War. I feel like I’m alone in this. But besides my actually just loving every second of it, and his voice in it, and how the lyrics speak to me, it also reminds me of my immediate post partum period. Those memories are complicated, but I used to wake up throughout the night to breastfeed my baby, and I’d listen to that song. He’s 3.5 now and he loves that song, too. It’s so special to me.
This is special. I think for lots of the answers it’s either the song that is tied to a particularly important period of life or a person..
Graceless, hands down. That song definitely takes top 3 of my favourite songs of all time. It’s one of those pieces of music that has never lost its effect on me, from the first time I heard it. Just a masterpiece
Slow Show fo sho
Watching you well
Bad Stuff Happens in the Bathroom
Conversation 16 cause I’ll have my head in the oven
But some days it’s geese.
I think it’s Driver, Surprise Me.
If I said anything else then I’d be thinking why didn’t I say Driver....
So it must be DSM
Afraid of everyone
I don't know how, sorry. The National is my favorite
I think it might be green gloves, I grew to love it after I realized the lyrics weren't actually creepy. The song's theme of yearning for friends you've long been separated from resonates with me.
I can’t pick a favorite. There’s too many. But if I picked one that resonates the most, it’s probably Graceless
Slow show or close second Carin at the liquor store
I think Quiet Light or I am Easy To Find are some of the saddest songs ever written. Something about those that fuck me up unlike any song to ever exist.
Guilty Party or Sorrow
Both have similar vibes for me. Very pragmatic "nothing to be done about it" outlook on a relationship or way of thinking
Sweet sense of doom is a great way to put it
If I had to pick one.. Sorrow wins out
Yeah on both these songs… no guilty party summarises so many relationships very quickly..
Demons But,I stay down,with my demons
When I walk into a room, I do not light it up. Fuck.
Graceless “God loves everybody don’t remind me “
My favorite national song changes by the day, the year or a month, but consistently find myself listening to them live at Sydney. But the song “Pretty Forever” live version Black Sessions on YouTube is phenom.
Reflexively I'd say Geese or Little Faith, however I think Terrible Love has had more effect, especially the alternate version. Really, really fun to sing along to, and really powerful message to remind myself that I'm only human and shouldn't hold myself only to my failures.
True. Wow I kind of forgot about Little Faith. It was one of my favourites off of HV even though it was one of the last ones i properly listened to.
Gosh. That’s like asking to pick your favorite child.
I guess I’ll go with Rylan, but ask tomorrow and it’ll be different!
Oh yeah I know! Which version of Rylan though?
I need my girl. I discussed the meaning of the lyrics, particularly saying sorry to the vines and not being seen with my girlfriend. It seems like one of the last times we really communicated. Sorry but this group seems like the right place to share that.
Yeah this song perfectly fits a situation like that.
For me it’s just a perfect song.
The live version with the extended intro and outro is simply stunning.
Agreed… especially with the movie scene in warrior it’s chilling…
One? Impossible. Sow Show. Theory of the Crows. Pink Rabbits About Today.
Terrible Love (alternate version).
I love how it builds to something grandiose and crashingly spectacular.
Heaven faced. But honestly if you asked me tomorrow I’d probably say something else (but it would almost definitely be from Trouble will find us)
All the Wine. Perfectly poetic.
Graceless. The vibe, the groove, the slow build. And it doesn’t hurt that during the live show in Minneapolis, MB shoulder bumped me as he strode through the crowd during this song.
I think this might be an important factor! Day I die is not one of my favourite songs but holding onto Matt’s coat sleeve while he serenaded someone in front of me did make me like it a lot more 😄