The National: Fake Empire + lyrics

Credit: Heidi Hartwig

By now, Fake Empire, the first single off the National’s upcoming LP, Boxer, has traveled at warp speed through the series of tubes known as the Internet. I’m sure you’ll find this hard to believe, but I saw it first at Gorilla vs. Bear. Then at Wolf Notes. Then at Pitchfork. And, well, you get the idea.

Everyone’s doing it. So I will, too. (And, yeah, if they jumped off the Empire State Building, I might do it, too.) If you were with me almost two years ago (wow), you might remember Alligator topping out my favorite albums list of 2005 and Looking for Astronauts claiming the prestigious prize of my favorite song of 2005. So you might say I’m a little excited for this new album, due out May 22 on Beggars.

As such, I figured I’d sit with Fake Empire for a bit and try to transcribe the lyrics (this is the part where you say, “Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?” And then I say, “No.”).

I’m pretty sure I’ve nailed the whole damn thing, except for one line (denoted, cleverly, by question marks below). A friend, whom I’ve adamantly tried to convince of the group’s greatness, said he’s warming up to Matt Berninger’s understated delivery, a trait on full display here. His baritone voice is especially warm and calm on this track. For me, though, the snare drum work and horns really anchor this track.

Please feel free to fill in the unknown line or correct me if I’ve misheard a word or two.

stay out super late tonight
picking apples, making pie
put a little something in our lemonade
and take it with us

we’re half-awake in a fake empire
we’re half-awake in a fake empire

tip-toe through our shiny city
with our diamond slippers on
bluebirds on our shoulders

we’re half-awake in a fake empire
we’re half-awake in a fake empire

turn the light out say goodnight
no thinking for a little while
let’s not try to figure out
everything at once
it’s hard to keep track of you
falling through the sky

we’re half-awake in a fake empire
we’re half-awake in a fake empire

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