Track Review: New Order T-Shirt // The National

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Trying to write this through glossy eyes is proving harder than expected. The only time I felt like this about a song is when I first listened to ‘Slow Show’ by the same band, The National, which boasts the same warm personality as the brand new single ‘New Order T-Shirt’, taken from the upcoming album First Two Pages of Frankenstein.

Based on this song, the band has released tribute t-shirts for the iconic band New Order, available on their website. A part of the proceeds will be going to charity.

The comfort that this new track emanates is almost overwhelming, it is like a hug and a pat on the back. And while the melody tells me “Everything is going to be okay”, frontman Matt Beringer whispers in my ear to hold on. Hold on to memories, to feelings, even to pain. Because pain is what makes us human. 

“To me the line ‘I keep what I can of you’ means something about everyone I’ve ever known or loved. There’s a simplicity to ‘New Order T-Shirt’ that reminds me of our earlier records, but with the full maturity and experience we have now. It feels like a really important song for the future of our band,” band member Aaron Dessner explains.

And it is true, the acoustic simplicity with shimmering details throughout the song are reminiscent of an old ‘About Today’, or ‘Green Gloves’, but with a renewed and more aware view of life and love and all things surrounding it.

The National has undressed in front of the listeners, standing vulnerable and authentic before everyone. The phrasing of each lyric not quite fitting the tempo and the thumping yet bright drumming in the background all contribute to the youth-like storytelling of a lost love, a lost friend, maybe a lost soul. 

The lyrics narrate: “When you cried at the beach and recovered in seconds, and said everything’s fine, but I knew it wasn’t,” transporting the listener to a limpid glimpse inside a memory, with the wind hitting our faces, and tears streaming down.

Hold on to memories, because everything will indeed be okay as long as music like this keeps meaning something.

Words by Silvia Pellegrino


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