No matter what my favorite album of this year ends up being â€“ and I’ve got a couple in mind (isn’t the suspense killing you?) â€“ it probably won’t hold a candle to last year’s top pick: Alligator by the National. It’s an album I’m still absorbing and poking around, checking out its nooks and crannies and trying to make sense of the lyrics. Coming back to it so often is justification to myself that it wasn’t just a cheap affair I had with Alligator.
Yet it makes me eager for the follow-up, which, I’ve heard, the group is diligently recording. The evolution of the hype may be most interesting to follow â€“ build-up, leaks, response, backlash? Maybe the next album will be the one to launch the National into major-label territory (knowing nothing of its contract with Beggars, of course).
Ah, too much to speculate. That’s why I was thrilled to get my greasy fingerprints all over this Abel 7″ with its glossy cover and previously unreleased B-side, Warm Singing Whores, which, although short at about two-and-a-half minutes, would have fit comfortably on Alligator. If a track like this was left for life as a B-side, it seems to suggest the National reached a pretty healthy creative streak during the recording of Alligator.
The National | Warm Singing Whores
Alligator is available at eMusic, along with the rest of the National catalog.