The National, ‘Day I Die’ | Track Review
The National release “Day I Die,” the final promo single released in advance of their highly-anticipated album, ‘Sleep Well Beast.’
The time has nearly come for The National to release their highly-anticipated new album, Sleep Well Beast. In advance of the album, Matt Berninger and company dropped four songs: “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” “Guilty Party”, “Carin at the Liquor Store,” and “Day I Die.” “Day I Die,” the fourth offering, does a decent job of furthering excitement for Sleep Well Beast.
“Day I Die” makes nice use of the organ at the onset. It’s great to hear a song with a quicker pace from The National. Up until this point, most of the singles have been slower. In addition to the tempo, there’s more of a rock-oriented sensibility, which is a pro. The tone of the guitars, particularly when they ascend to their upper register, stands out. Also, there’s an exuberance about this particular song, at least in regards to sound. It also helps that it’s set in a major key. Even with the exuberance, the lyrics showcases pessimism. On the first verse, Berninger sings:
“I don’t need you, I don’t need you / Besides, I barely ever see you anymore / And when I do, it feels you’re only halfway there…”
Uh oh. This displeasure continues on throughout the remainder of the song. On the second verse, he sings:
“Don’t do this, I don’t do this this to you / Don’t expect me to enjoy it / ‘Cause I really don’t have the courage not to turn the volume up…”
On the third, he throws in vodka and some profanity.
“I get a little punch with the vodka just like my great uncle Valentine Jester did / But he had to deal with those people like you who made no goddamn common sense.”
Despite the odd oxymoronic blend of pessimism and exuberance, the chorus is catchy. It’s nothing deep – it’s simply penned to say the least.
“The day I die, the day I die / Where will we be?”
So, how does “Day I Die” stack up? Ultimately, it’s a respectable fourth single from The National ahead of Sleep Well Beast. It’s no game changer, nor the best of the bunch, but it’s sound. Furthermore, it distinguishes itself from the three singles preceding it. If it were opting for the number one spot owned by “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” however, it falls short.