Monday, 8 November 2010

The National – Terrible Love (4AD)

‘Terrible Love’ is the new single from Brooklyn’s The National; it is the opening track to their most recent album High Violet and it is the new “rocker” in The National’s catalogue, having replaced their previous trademark “rocker” ‘Mr. November’ as the new closing song at all of their shows.

In my opinion though, this track does not even come close to ‘Mr. November’ in quality. Whereas the ‘Mr. November’ was a real fist-pumping, throat swelling anthem, swaying from the heroic “I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders” to the cathartic “I’m Mr. November; I won’t fuck us over!” ‘Terrible Love’ is too bogged down in its own misery to stir the same kind of emotions. The image of “walking with spiders” is a typically evocative and gloomy one for the Brooklyn bunch, and one that’s typical of High Violet; the bands most self-pitying album yet. Not that there’s anything wrong with songs about self-pity, certain acts have made a career about pretty much nothing else, but this topic is better served by a slow, melodic musical accompaniment, which is the opposite of ‘Terrible Love’. There are, however, plenty of tracks on High Violet that do match the description I have just laid out including ‘Lemonworld’, ‘Anyone’s Ghost’ and ‘Afraid of Everyone’, any of which would have made great singles.

So the bottom line on ‘Terrible Love’ is that it’s a good song, but not deserving of single release, and certainly not worthy of being the climax of The National’s live show. Let’s hope they make better judgements in the future.

Words : Rob Hakimian

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