The National: Hairpin Turns - Track Review

Sleepy, watered-down National-isms.


The National are showing signs of boredom. Despite their eagerness to release a 16-track album only two years after their previous effort, Sleep Well Beast, “Hairpin Turns” is a needlessly obtuse melody without any defining characteristics. This is The National at their most watery, turning in performances that are at once sleepy and casually winding.

Matt Berninger in particular leads the song with a curlicue of vocal turns and lyrical aphorisms that read as bland as they did on “Guilty Party.” Instead of innovating on their sound, “Hairpin Turns” signifies a band resting on their past, specifically the squeaky-clean days of High Violet and Trouble Will Find Me, consequently two of their most gutless records.

Listen to “Hairpin Turns”