The National: Light Years - Track Review

A rewarding and picturesque closer.


Revving-up their single-rollout with the finale, The National have made a crucial gesture. Rather than lead with bombast and free-range experimental-rock (“The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”), the piano-led “Light Years” guides the mood of their latest offering into a bare-bones arena they haven’t visited in years. The journey from “You Had Your Soul With You” to “Light Years” seems monumental, hinting at I Am Easy to Find’s curious purpose. At this point in their long career, what have The National not covered? Soft rock, raging punk, airbrushed stadium-rock: it makes sense to take things back to one of their most overlooked periods, the angsty and lovelorn days of Boxer. Piano is the guiding instrument, telling the retrospective of a relationship from one side, now traveling further and further away, the glory of the moment preserved in memory. Matt Berninger’s melody is his simplest since Boxer, harkening to the days when The National were taking risks with indie-rock.

Listen to “Light Years”