http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/the-national-trouble-will-find-me-608x608-1368715051.jpg Trouble Will Find Me

The National

Trouble Will Find Me

4 A.D.
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
May 16, 2013

This is the sound of despair, according to singer Matt Berninger of the National: "If you want to make me cry," he claims early on this record, in "Don't Swallow the Cap," "play Let It Be or Nevermind." It is a surprising admission, given the Brooklyn band's established anguish on albums like 2007's Boxer and the 2010 bestseller, High Violet: a chaos of broken affections and mortal fears drawn with spare rhythmic and melodic flourishes, often in wide, open reverb. On much of Trouble Will Find Me as well, the terse phrases and single-tone exclamations of guitarists Bryce and Aaron Dessner hang around Berninger's baritone gravity like clouded starlight.

But there is pop, too: not much Beatles or Nirvana but enough pre-stadium U2 and classic David Bowie – that clarity and engagement – to draw you closer, faster, to the grace and crisis here. Berninger sings only of bad options in "Sea of Love" but does it against a sizzling pulse and a golden glaze of harmonies. In "Fireproof," his deep, scuffed voice is ringed with teardrop guitar. "I Need My Girl" is compact urgency with a dusky guitar figure that's actually a little country. In another age, the song could have been a radio-breakthrough single. Now it's just good news: The National are letting light and air into their shadows.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »