Sleep well beast [sound recording]
Music CD, Musical Sound Recording, Sound Recording
Publisher, Date:
[London, England] : 4AD, [2017]
1 audio disc : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in.
digital optical
audio file
CD audio
Performed by The National (Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, Scott Devendorf).
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Title from container.
Compact disc.
Full credits and lyrics on container insert.
All lyrics written by Matt Berninger; all music composed by Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner except "Day I Die", composed by The National.
Nobody else will be there -- Day I die -- Walk it back -- The system only dreams in total darkness -- Born to beg -- Turtleneck -- Empire line -- I'll still destroy you -- Guilty party -- Carin at the liquor store -- Dark side of the gym -- Sleep well beast.
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201 A
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Notes / Track List
The National never seem in a hurry to reach their destination, but there's a sense of quiet urgency on Sleep Well Beast, their seventh album. Much of that momentum arrives in arrangements that generally tend to eschew the grayscale of its 2013 predecessor, Trouble Will Find Me, a record that felt sculpted so that each element was elegantly interlocked. Comparatively, Sleep Well Beast draws attention to itself through the occasional squall of noise ("The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness") and rushed tempo ("Turtleneck"), but also through an expanded sonic palette. Electronics are used for texture and shade, vocal harmonies glide through the mix, pianos anchor a couple of tunes -- all subtle gradients within the National's recognizable formula, but they're enough to give Sleep Well Beast a distinct character. Such a shift may not be startling, particularly since it takes a while for album opener "Nobody Else Will Be There" to fade into view, but by the time the murmuring title track evaporates, it's evident that Sleep Well Beast offers a journey with satisfying detours. This is a welcome departure (and perhaps necessary complement) to Trouble Will Find Me, which celebrated its finely manicured stillness. While Sleep Well Beast offers more than its fair share of hushed moments -- the National design their music to be lean-in listening, requiring an investment from their audience not only so that the lyrics can be deciphered, but so the subdued shifts in emphasis seem dynamic -- this familiar signature seems enhanced by the fact that these soft, slow songs are surrounded by cuts where the darkness opens up slightly but significantly. It's enough to make Sleep Well Beast feel like a dramatic departure in the close quarters of the National's discography. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
1Nobody Else Will Be There
2Day I Die
3Walk It Back
4System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
5Born to Beg
7Empire Line
8I'll Still Destroy You
9Guilty Party
10Carin at the Liquor Store
11Dark Side of the Gym
12Sleep Well Beast
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