all 38 comments

[–]coffee_and_flowersdaisy fresh and arrow straight 133 points134 points  (4 children)

Just the last latest three albums? Matt's been writing lyrics about troubled relationships since their first album. Also Carin Besser his wife writes with him a lot, so maybe they like exploring the complexity of relationships...

[–]Many-Block-6409 12 points13 points  (0 children)

And if you’ve been married that long, you’ve also watched other couples struggle, and you have an idea of how things can go wrong easily… and probably know some of the not so pretty details involved.

[–]loulan 4 points5 points  (1 child)

At some point I was listening to a lot of The National and Daughter and it sounded like all songs were about Matt and Elena having relationship issues. I was thinking maybe we should match them up.

[–]raysofgold 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Daughter is probably one of the few other bands that have so perfectly been able to capture that raw and sad end times of a relationship vibe in song on numerous occasions

[–]FizzPig 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This. All of their songs sound like a guy trying to avoid getting divorced

[–]aspindleadarkness 102 points103 points  (5 children)

I refuse to believe that every song Matt Berninger ever writes about relationships is about his own relationship, that would be unhinged. I know fuck all about his personal life but I’d like to think that he’s very happily married and just uses his lyrical talents to explore darker subjects, because happy songs are fucking boring, lol. The best examples of art involve some type of tension or misery, who’s gonna listen to an album filled with songs about how great being married is?

[–]MatthewMateo 23 points24 points  (2 children)

See: Chance the Rapper’s the Big Day

[–]RBanner 6 points7 points  (0 children)

“I love my wife!” Who are you trying to prove, guy? Yourself?

[–]bigguytoo9 3 points4 points  (0 children)

That album is beyond hot garbage.

[–]flamingllama33give me the keys man 16 points17 points  (1 child)

Yeah I think a lot of people think songs are usually literally about the songwriter talking about their life, and sometimes it is, but I think often it could just be other stories they want to tell, fictional or real. Like I really doubt all of Taylor Swift’s songs are about real relationships, I’m sure some are just stories she came up with

[–]chveya_ 49 points50 points  (5 children)

This is an article quoting Matt from the SWB era.

//The very public music therapy has helped the couple get back on track, even as the single Guilty Party seems to suggest they called it quits.

“My wife and I write together and when I am writing, I know she’s going to hear the rough sketches,” he says.

“I also know that if I am not singing about something significant, she won’t let me get away with too much bulls--- Some bulls--- but not too much.

“The first song is just an argument as it is unfolding and takes some twist and turns. I like the idea of taking a basic marital argument and shifting it to something more global. I do consciously try to make things both tiny and universal.”//

In general, I think they do a lot of playing around with the darker side of marriage, but not necessarily a diary entry blow by blow of what is actually going on. Also, some songs that sound like marital songs are actually about friendships, family relationships, or invented ideas.

[–]tropicmorningin a lemonworld 14 points15 points  (3 children)

Thanks for referencing this interview. I feel like Matt has talked a lot about how everything he writes isn’t like a story of his own life.

I’m surprised by how many people I’ve seen asking this question about his marriage over Eucalyptus…because so much of their music revolves around relationships in general. Carin has written on so many of the songs too.

[–]chveya_ 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Yes I think there was even a song that Carin wrote most of the lyrics too that was actually about herself from Matt’s perspective (as she saw it). I wish I could remember which one!

[–]cholulamare 3 points4 points  (1 child)

This might be something different but Hey Rosey is her writing about Matt but in Matt's voice?

[–]tropicmorningin a lemonworld 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yup, I think Matt referenced this at a show. Carin wrote most, if not all, of Hey Rosey about him. I think that’s why they intentionally had Gail Ann Dorsey sing most of it (from a woman’s perspective)

[–]Final-Appointment112 1 point2 points  (0 children)

And it’s often easier to write when your emotions are at a high (or at least that’s what I find)….

[–]Existing_Bluebird_54 21 points22 points  (6 children)

I think his lyrics sound like a whole bunch of middle aged married people's feelings. The National got me through my divorce in my thirties, and those records (Boxer, Alligator) felt contemporary to my life at the time. Now, the newer records get me through my second marriage. At this point, we're growing together and we're brutally honest with each other. Eucalyptus sounds like that to me. There's a couple dividing their shit but then they wonder if they move back to a place they used to be, will it get better?

Also, married people with kids that went through the pandemic and lockdown and misery? It's been a rough few years for us Gen-Xers.

Like, we're all in our late forties. We're going to have fights and think I am done with this shit. But then we're going to realize there is so much good in this thing that we have to just find a way to get through it. Because that's what we do.

So that's how I feel about them. Matt's lyrics sound like my thoughts and feelings, maybe slightly more extreme which makes them SO GOOD.

[–]kunk75 9 points10 points  (1 child)

I think they’re the most gen x relatable band on the planet I’m always surprised that there are younger fans as well

[–]Existing_Bluebird_54 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Yeah, I love seeing the kids at the shows. LOL. But they definitely feel like my peers and there's always a ton of us at the shows.

[–]kingofpunDreaming in Total Darkness 5 points6 points  (1 child)

As a Gen Xer who has experienced way more relationship strife and family ups and downs then I ever thought I would, the lyrics definitely speak to me.

I think much of his work does have at least a kernal of reality. Which he makes into art for us to interpret and connect with through our lives experiences as all good art does.

I joke that TN is my longest relationship as I first saw them in 2007 at the end of my first marriage. Still going strong 16 years later. Concerts #15 and #16 this summer!! Can't wait.

[–]Existing_Bluebird_54 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hahahahaha! My longest as well. 😂

[–]Aquarian_Girl 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Agreed. TWFM helped me through a rough patch in my marriage in the year or so after it came out. Songs on that and some other National albums about breakups/relationship struggles relate to how I've felt in moments in my marriage and in other relationships, romantic and otherwise, including parenthood.

[–]tegularian 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Maybe because at this point, a target demographic for the band is married men trying very hard to prevent their wives from divorcing them.

[–]ludik23i don't have any questions cause i don't think it's gonna rain. 3 points4 points  (0 children)

maybe really yes haha

[–]quanya 7 points8 points  (0 children)

There’s a reason why it gets the label sad dad rock.

[–]Ailite 12 points13 points  (0 children)

He often writes in character. It’s a silly assumption to think that all his lyrics are about his real lived experiences.

[–]greengloves13 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I think they are all songs about loss told through the lens of divorce. Like “Eucalyptus” definitely seems like a straightforward song about two people splitting up their things, but it also reminds me of two heartbroken people trying to decide what to do with the possessions of a deceased loved one, or an elderly, aging parent trying to get their child to leave their house with a family heirloom that they want so desperately to mean something to someone else.

[–]dressinbrass 8 points9 points  (0 children)

What is art other than a way to plumb the depths of the things we fear most?

[–]FlashFlooder 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I think they are both writing these, some written from her perspective about him. Seems like a way of working through things.

I agree that this album, so far, really seems to be tapping into this.

[–]Vivid_Angle 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Sometimes I learn that a particular song is not actually about his wife, but rather someone else like his daughter or father or mother

[–]kunk75 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Lol it’s a fair point

[–]Any_Froyo2301 -2 points-1 points  (2 children)

I think they have explored it in some kind of order - Alligator and Boxer (start of relationship) Trouble will Find Me (relationship tensions), Sleep Well Beast (Affair), Easy to Find (separation and reconciliation) and then Eucalyptus at least is divorce.

The video for Eucalyptus starts with the same house as on the cover of Sleep Well Beast (I think?). The cover of Sleep Well Beast has three blue dots, which i think is meant to indicate people, and, in that case, indicate an affair.

[–]FlashFlooder 28 points29 points  (0 children)

The house is long pond studio, where they record.

[–]jackfruitdreams -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Maybe that’s exactly what he’s tryna do

[–]divingoffthebalcony 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I started with TWFM for sure. I remember thinking that there were too many whiny songs ruminating on the possibility of Carin leaving him.

I have to say, it’s wild knowing that they collaborate on these lyrics, especially when they’re so specific to their marriage. A form of therapy, maybe?

[–]TheSugarMouse 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hoping Matt is in a good place with his relationships, mental health, and becoming sober.