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all 23 comments

[–]magomra 18 points19 points  (6 children)

100% Aligator and Boxer were my first two and forever loves... then I fell off the band for a while and really just came back for FTPOF and feel like a born again fan.

[–]SugarMouseOnReddit -4 points-3 points  (5 children)

So interesting. Makes sense as Frankenstein is similar in style to Alligator and Boxer.

[–]TenderLovingKiller 10 points11 points  (4 children)

Disagree with this. Frankenstein is much more subdued than either of those. To me Frankenstein feels more like an extension of I Am Easy To Find than anything.

[–]SugarMouseOnReddit 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Really? Boxer and Alligator have lots of slower songs like Ada, Gospel, Racing, Fake Empire on Boxer and City Middle, Val Jester, and Daughters on Alligator.

[–]TenderLovingKiller 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Yeah, but also way more banger; Alligator has Mr. November, Able, Secret Meeting and Lit Up. While Boxer has that nice section at the beginning of Mistaken For Strangers, Brainy, and Squalor Victoria. Boxer also features a few that start out mid and then crescendo into a epic climax. Those albums are much more varied.

Everything in Frankenstein is mid tempo which is fine, but it all runs a bit together and is lacking some of the hooky ear worms that keep me coming back for more. It is still a fine latter day National album but Alligator and Boxer are nearly perfect from beginning to end.

[–]SugarMouseOnReddit -4 points-3 points  (1 child)

I agree somewhat but Tropic and Grease are faster songs. To me it's much closer in style to Boxer than IAETF.

[–]TenderLovingKiller 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Those are faster when compared with the surrounding tracks sure but neither are closing out live shows.

[–]Ankshuss917 7 points8 points  (3 children)

I became a fan when High Violet came out. It's still my favorite beginning to end. With that said, had I known about Boxer or Alligator or SSFDL for that matter, I would've loved them then as well, I'm sure. TWFM is phenomenal as well.

Fast forward a bit. I seemed to have taken a bit of a break during SWB and IAETF. Not that I didn't like them. I just was wrapped up in other things.... mainly a deep battle with alcoholism. Sad but true. I liked certain songs but never really delved into those two albums and listened closely lyrically. Sobered up in early 2020 and got back into their music. It was like I had picked up where I left off, and they were in steady rotation for me once again.

To finally 'maybe' answer your question. I was like you. The singles began to drop and I was waiting and wondering what FTPOF was going to be like. The band felt new to me again. I compared the singles to earlier tracks. What they sounded like, what I felt while also wondering what they were shooting for. I refused to listen to Your Mind Is Not Your Friend until the album came out. I wanted the album to be somewhat fresh for me and one more single may have taken that from me. FTPOF may be one of my favorites but it's hard to say. They're all great in their own way. FTPOF just touches me differently than the others and I suppose that's due to things I've been through in the last 6 years. It's a relatable album that I feel will always be dear to me. Every listen it just gets better. I don't think being an old or new fan affects that. We relate best to what we feel, old or new.

Welcome to The National fanhood. It's a pretty cool place to be.

And sorry for the incredibly long-winded reply. Didn't realize how long this was until I looked up. Lol

[–]thisisnthelping2011[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed reading your explanation and glad to hear you could pick them back up again!

[–]coffee_and_flowersdaisy fresh and arrow straight 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Congrats on your sobriety!

[–]Ankshuss917 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hey, thank you! It has been quite the journey.

[–]TenderLovingKiller 7 points8 points  (0 children)

My favorite National album is Alligator. I was 23 when it was released. It was their breakout album though so I didn’t have any build up. They had received a solid review in Pitchfork and were touring with Indie Blog darlings Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! Initially the buzz was all about CYHSY but by the end of the tour The National had seemingly surpassed them in popularity. The build up to Boxer was a bit buzzy (they recorded a track with Sufjan who was coming off of releasing his most critically acclaimed album, Illinois) Boxer was more subdued and didn’t grab me as intensely right off the bat the same way Alligator did. It was obviously an amazing album (still my second favorite) but I had to spend a good amount of time with it prior for everything to click into place with me. Since then I have been a fan for every subsequent release. I enjoy them all to varying degrees. The last album that really blew me away was Sleep Well Beast (I have a theory that they need to have a GOP President in office to rage against to be at their best) but back to your original question, I think if you have the right headspace for the music and lyrics to click, you will really fall in love with an album regardless if it were in real time or not. Though I think it does add a bit to one’s enjoyment if you can take part in the communal experience of enjoying a new release especially when you feel like you were there from the beginning.

[–]SugarMouseOnReddit 3 points4 points  (1 child)

That’s how it goes most of the time. But there’s a selection bias. The first album we find is usually our favorite but that’s partly because we loved it in the first place. I came into the fold at Boxer and I do love that album but I love High Violet and Trouble and IAETF even more. Also a big fan of Frankenstein.

[–]thisisnthelping2011[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Interesting, makes sense though! So many good choices ☺️

[–]Adventurous_Pin_344 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Really interesting question. I've shared this in response to other posts here, but I feel like I've come of age to the band. Boxer came out right when I was young and dumb, just having moved to NYC, trying to be adult. Here was this amazing band, also in Brooklyn, making really powerful, resonant music. I've enjoyed every album since, and they've highlighted different points in my life. (I saw them at the Greek Theater in Berkeley when they were touring in support of TWFM, which is easily one of my top five shows ever. That album was released shortly after I had finished grad school and was a newlywed, and was feeling on top of the world.)

Now I am decidedly older, settling into the ennui that is middle age. I think FTPOF isn't one of their best, but it captures where I am in life emotionally, so I've been enjoying it. It's also one of those albums where every day, a new song gets stuck in my head, and I have to listen to it on repeat. Today's was "Grease in Your Hair." Which I kept singing to my dog, to my daughter's endless amusement.

[–]Alynn_Wings 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You truly grew up with them. This is how i feel about Sleater-Kinney. A lot of their genre fans don't care for the newer albums. But I dearly love them all because they stills sing about where i am in life to a T. I love seeing a band grow and mature and being able to hear it their music as well while doing it myself along with them.

[–]ebone581 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Once I heard Theory of the Crows, I bought their debut. Being the first, I’m biased toward that as my fav. Always will be. That being said, I have enjoyed everything they have done immensely to the point of them being my fav bad. At times, almost being an unhealthy obsession

[–]kunk75 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I’m a fan since sad songs and would put ftpof at a very solid 5 behind hv, boxer, alligator, twfm. My litmus is how many songs I skip fwiw

[–]velvetvagine 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I was already a fan when IAETF came out but I didn’t love it. Same with SWB but then that one grew on me BIG TIME.

Some part of it is experiencing an album release for sure but a bigger part is just the vibe. The albums also take on different meaning as you go through life too, which is why I love the variety of their music. Even when something is not for me I keep in mind that maybe down the line I’ll change my mind. And if not, I’ve still got the entire back catalogue. We are really spoiled for choice imo!

[–]FlashFlooder 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Being there certainly helps… but alligator is one of my favs and I visited it retroactively (granted they had limited albums at the time, and I’m sure any of their subsequent albums would’ve taken that slot)

[–]deepfriedcertified 1 point2 points  (0 children)

TWFM was the “new” album when I first got into them. I first heard “Don’t Swallow the Cap” when it dropped and was instantly drawn to Matt’s vocals, I decided to go backwards and listen to High Violet in full and I’ve been a fan ever since. But as TWFM was the current album at the time, it remains my favorite.

[–]bennnn11 1 point2 points  (0 children)

High Violet was the first one I got to experience as a new fan, but Boxer and Alligator were the first two I really loved. TWFM was another one where the hype was so big for me. HV is not my favorite, but it holds the most nostalgia for me. TWFM is my favorite, and similarly it’s incredibly nostalgic - like an extension of myself in some weird way. I do think when you’re experiencing a new love of a band and they have a new album coming out, you’re more likely to love the new one. But as a longer time fan, I also love FTPOF. To me it does harken back to a band-forward sounding album, albeit a more subdued one. The anxiousness of Boxer is toned down into a more reflective calm, but the energy of a band playing together makes me think of those earlier records. I know a lot of people will disagree with that, but that’s what I hear.

[–]Existing_Bluebird_54 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I've loved them since Boxer and it's still my favorite. But I love this new one too.