The National have teased two songs from their forthcoming new album and hinted at collaborations with Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens.
- READ MORE: The National on new music: “It’s the whole history of the band, but with a new exploration”
The band posted a short clip on Twitter featuring 25 seconds of music with frontman Matt Berninger facing a piano. At the end of the clip he turns around holding up a book of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Earlier this week, The National sent teasers to members of their Cherry Tree fan community, hinting at something being announced today (January 13).
One Reddit user posted a photo of a cutout face, with a “Hello, my name is Paul” sticker on its head. On the back is today’s date, plus the words “Tranquilize the Mind”.
— The National (@TheNational) January 13, 2023
Another user later shared that they had received the same cutout face, but theirs had the words “Evil Forebodings” written on the back.
Today, the band shared a link on their Twitter page with the name of their website and the letters “lp9”.
The click through asks for a password which is indeed Evil Forebodings and takes the user to a passage from the book of Frankenstein but instead of a letter to Mrs. Saville, it is addressed to Mrs. Bridgers, while the name Margaret has been replaced with Taylor, and “our good Uncle Thomas” has given way to “our good Uncle Sufjan.”
These are likely references to Phoebe Bridgers, Taylor Swift, and Sufjan Stevens. Details are yet to be confirmed by the band.
It also features snippets of two songs, the first of which is a contemplative piano number that finds Berninger singing, “Don’t make this any harder,” and the second features a driving guitar as the frontman sings: “I wasn’t starting yet/ I didn’t even think you were listening/ I wasn’t ready at all to say/ Anything about anything interesting.”
Last year saw The National return with the single ‘Weird Goodbyes’, a collaboration with Bon Iver. Speaking about the song, Berninger explained at the time: “It’s about letting go of the past and moving on, then later being overwhelmed by second thoughts.”
As for the process of creating the track, the band’s Aaron Dessner added: “‘Weird Goodbyes’ was one of the first new songs we made. I was misusing drum machines, as usual, and stumbled onto this beat that got stuck in my head – it felt like something only Bryan could naturally play. We built the song around the beat.”
In September, the band shared a remix of Neu!‘s 1972 track ‘Im Glück’. Their new interpretation of the song featured as part of Neu!’s 50th anniversary boxset, which was released on September 23 via British-German label Grönland Records.
During a recent interview with NME, Bryce Dessner talked about what fans can expect from The National’s new material. “It’s starting to become something we’re really excited about,” he said. “It’s hard to say what shape it will take, but there’s a ton there.”
The National released their eighth and most recent studio album, ‘I Am Easy To Find’, back in 2019.