Taylor Swift - evermore

Coney Island in the winter is a completely different place than during summertime, when it's a brightly lit beachside amusement park.

In the song "coney island," featuring The National, Taylor Swift brings her listeners to the wintertime side of New York's infamous seaside paradise, inviting us to join her on a bench as she mourns the bitter end of a marriage and the end of a season.

One of the song's best lines is sung by The National's Matt Berniger, whose bass voice never fails to haunt. "The question pounds my head / What's a lifetime of achievement / If I pushed you to the edge?" he sings.

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Music Features

Taylor Swift Praises Bon Iver, Anaïs Mitchell, and Aaron Dessner's "The Latter Days"

Justin Vernon debuted the song as part of a GOTV initiative in his home state of Wisconsin.

Taylor Swift just announced support for a new song by two of her folklore collaborators: The National's Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon.

The song, called "The Latter Days" is, first and foremost, a call to action. Written from the perspective of someone in the future, it asks the question: Have I done enough?


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2010 was a major time for music.

The year brought landmark records for artists like Kanye West, Kesha, and Vampire Weekend—all of which we've previously discussed at length. But that's only the tip of the iceberg of records that, despite being released a decade ago, still feel timeless in their own ways.

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MUSIC

The National Returns with "I Am Easy To Find"

The band's eighth studio album is as heavy as you'd expect a National album to be, but adds a layer of softness to their cinematically-heavy indie rock.

Graham MacIndo

To listen to I Am Easy To Find is to hear The National opening their world a little more.

The National's body of work embraces a cinematic heaviness, seeking shelter in a life filled with doubt and sadness; there's always a sense of reckoning, for better and worse, that pushes the stakes of each album in their discography higher and higher. But I Am Easy To Find feels more present in its focus than a National album has in years. Produced in a collaboration with director Mike Mills that also yielded a short film starring Alicia Vikander, the album directly confronts the ways distance, both physical and emotional, frays the strongest love. "I'm learning to lie in the quiet light / while I watch the sky go from black to gray / learning how not to die," frontman Matt Berninger intones on "Quiet Light," and learning how not to die becomes the album's pulse. It's a melancholy race against time, taking stock of what's important in life while they still can.

I Am Easy To Find marries The National's dark indie rock with an orchestral verve, experimenting with the urgency the sound of strings lends a piece of music. The personal and exhaustive lyricism meshes well with the vivid soundscape, underscoring the album's emphasis on the present. "You Had Your Soul With You" and "Hairpin Turns" envision different faltering relationships, ranging from regret and guilt to impassioned, indignant heartbreak. The ballad-like "Not In Kansas" lives up to its iconic name, tracing what makes a life worth living with soft and excoriating imagery, while leaner tracks like "Where Is Her Head" and "Dust Swirls In Strange Light" play with pure sensation to indicate a thematic path. "Rylan," towards the end of the album, does this most explicitly in a plea to a child to grasp as much as life as they can, a plea that ends up sounding like a warning. The National does their best work giving uncertain answers, promising no happy ending but assuring the listener that a happy ending is still worth wanting.

"I Am Easy To Find" - A Film by Mike Mills / An Album by The National youtu.be


Maybe the most fascinating aspect of the album is the conscious way it takes the shape of a conversation—or a series of conversations—between Berninger's deep baritone voice and the various female collaborators featured on the album. Gail Ann Dorsey, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tandle and more—accomplished artists and collaborators in their own right—appear as featured vocalists throughout the album, singing with and responding to Berninger's voice laid-bare. The lyrics plumb the depths of uncertainty and heartbreak, set against the sound's magnetic score, but this sense of communication, of genuine emotional exchange, grounds the album's ambition in something real. "Oblivions" and "The Pull of You," especially, use their central duets to try to bridge the chasm between the promises lovers make and what it takes to keep that love alive. This pairing of male and female vocals on a majority of the songs invoke a vast swath of narrative possibility—partners, parents, a generous breadth of perspective—but, most importantly, it allows The National to tell a more fleshed-out story.

The album's title track comes off like a bitter lullaby, a love poem tinged by cynicism: "I'm not going anywhere / Who do I think I'm kidding? / I'm still standing in the same place / Where you left me standing." But the refrain, and the album's title shouldn't be seen as giving up. It's perhaps best understood as a reassurance that whatever imperfect humanity gets in the way, the love that's built between two people is still worth salvaging. I Am Easy To Find is literal in its location and restorative in its commitment; it's a love story where understanding, rather than happily-ever-after, is an acceptable ending.

I Am Easy to Find


Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Find him on Twitter @imdoingmybest.


MUSIC

New Releases From Shawn Mendes, Vampire Weekend and More

New singles from Kim Petras, Lauv, Shawn Mendes, The National, Faye Webster. Plus, new releases from Still Woozy, ALASKALASKA, and Big Thief!

abc.net.au / Ezra Koenig at Glastonbury

May is a month known for celebrating workers' rights, cherry blossoms, and new music.

This week brought new singles from the likes of Kim Petras, Shawn Mendes, Lauv, The National, and Faye Webster; debut releases from Still Woozy and ALASKALASKA, and the long-awaited albums of YG, Big Thief, and Vampire Weekend.

Singles

1. Kim Petras — "Got My Number"

Pop savior Kim Petras has blessed us with a new, boppy single called "Got My Number." It's a definite upward mood swing from last week's confessional breakup cut "Broken." On "Got My Number," Petras sings of moving on (and the debauchery that might accompany that) over a glossy beat: "Don't wanna be a good girl tonight / I just wanna be a bad girl alright."

2. Lauv — "Drugs & The Internet"

Lauv is back with a bittersweet new single called "Drugs & the Internet" accompanied by a surrealist video. The "I Like Me Better" singer explores technology-induced-depression in a track that starts off as a piano ballad but soon evolves into something much bouncier. "And I don't wanna hit delete/ On all the parts of me that they might hate/ So now I'm laying in my bed/ And I can't get out my head."

3. Shawn Mendes — "If I Can't Have You"

Shawn Mendes announced on Instagram that he would be dropping a surprise single this week called "If I Can't Have You." The teaser image features a rainbow-sherbert swirl of water-color tones coming together to form a silhouette of the singer's head.

Shawn Mendes - If I Can't Have You www.youtube.com

4. The National — "Hairpin Turns"

Gearing up to release their forthcoming album, I Am Easy To Find, The National shared a lovely new single this week called "Hairpin Turns." The full album is due out May 17th on 4AD records.


5. Faye Webster — "Right Side Of My Neck"

Faye Webster put out a daydream of a new song called "Right Side of My Neck," that sounds like how having butterflies on a first date feels. The Atlanta-based songwriter's forthcoming album, Atlanta Millionaires Club, is due out May 24th via Secretly Canadian.

EPs

6. Still Woozy — Lately EP

Still Woozy, the project of Sven Gamsky, is putting out his anticipated EP, Lately. Based out of Oakland, Still Woozy puts an R&B spin on the laidback, wavy synths and geometric textures that have come to be associated with the nebulous 'bedroom pop' genre. This self-released EP is the long-awaited showcase of Still Woozy's immense talent, and it does not disappoint.


LPs

7. ALASKALASKA — The Dots

The South London-based group have crystallized their idiosyncratic, freeform sound into an excellent debut album called The Dots, which melds together experimental pop and jazz.


8. Big Thief — U.F.O.F

Big Thief continues to prove themselves as one of the most skilled folk bands in the game on their new album, U.F.O.F., out today on 4AD. On the new record, the indie-folk four-piece gazes through the lens of the supernatural, while grounding their spectral songs in lived experiences, creating a sound that's as haunted and airy as it is immaculately constructed. It feels special to be alive at the same time that Big Thief is putting out music.


9. YG — 4REAL 4REAL

The Compton rap heavyweight delayed the release of his album after the passing of his close friend Nipsey Hussle. YG's last album entitled Stay Dangerous came out in 2018. This year at Coachella, YG unveiled a new single called "Stop Snitchin'" and today his full-length is here in all of its glory. On 4REAL 4REAL, YG doesn't hold back as he flexes his gift for dexterous, melodic rap.

10. Vampire Weekend — Father of the Bride

Vampire Weekend's Father of the Bride is finally here! After months of anticipation and cryptic clues, the new 18-track record is being hailed by some as Vampire Weekend's magnum opus. It's a definite shift in direction from 2013's Modern Vampires of The City. Fans are not just clocking it as Dad Rock because of Ezra's newfound fatherhood, though that definitely might have something to do with the band's change of tone. As the singles have indicated, their new sound sinks into jammier, even deadhead-esque territory. Underneath it all, FOTB is still quintessential VW — packed with dense, heady references and irresistible, evergreen choruses. Although the album art might not be the best they've ever had, it's safe to say this new LP exceeds all expectations and solidifies Vampire Weekend as one of the most important and influential indie rock bands of our generation.


Sara is a music and culture writer. Her work has previously appeared in PAPER magazine and Stereogum.


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It's hard to ignore the hype surrounding the final season of Game of Thrones.

Amidst the constant din of late night talk show appearances, trailer promos, season teasers, and SNL content, there's almost no way to escape the show's grand finale. It's no secret that GoT––known for its grandiose budgets, extravagant filming locations, and widespread popularity––has the financial power to dominate the media landscape. Now, HBO is teaming up with Columbia Records to curate a special soundtrack to celebrate the end of the phenomenal series.

The star-studded project –– For The Throne –– is set to feature musical contributions from A$AP Rocky, Rosalía, The National, Ellie Goulding, Maren Morris, and Mumford & Sons –– among other major powerhouses. Earlier this month, Pitchfork reported that The Weeknd, SZA, and Travis Scott are working on an original song for the show, but that's not where the name-dropping ends. The 14-track project will be released on April 26th, after the GoT season kicks off on April 8th. This is the first time HBO has partnered with a major record label to create a soundtrack specifically for the show with original material, which is a real testament to the series' cultural power.

See the full list of the acts set to appear on For The Throne below:

ASAP Rocky

Chloe x Halle

Ellie Goulding

Jacob Banks

James Arthur

Joey Badass

Lennon Stella

Lil Peep

Maren Morris

Matthew Bellamy

Mumford & Sons

Rosalía f/ A.CHAL

SZA

The Lumineers

The National

The Weeknd

Travis Scott

Ty Dolla Sign

X Ambassadors


Sara is a music and culture writer who lives in Brooklyn. Her work has previously appeared in PAPER magazine and Stereogum.


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