The National Unveil Ninth Studio Album ‘First Two Pages of Frankenstein’

Photo by Josh Goleman

Today, The National announced the release of their ninth studio album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, due to release on April 28, 2023, via 4AD. The 11-track project signals a new chapter in the band’s discography and features guest appearances by Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens.

First Two Pages of Frankenstein was recorded and produced by The National at Long Pond Studios in upstate New York and comes after two back-to-back LPs and a handful of years touring. According to a press release, the project was initially stalled while Matt Berninger traversed “a very dark spot where I couldn’t come up with lyrics or melodies at all. Even though we’d always been anxious whenever we were working on a record, this was the first time it ever felt like maybe things really had come to an end.”

According to guitarist/pianist Bryce Dessner, The National “managed to come back together and approach everything from a different angle, and because of that we arrived at what feels like a new era for the band,” which is comprised of his brother Aaron on guitar, piano and bass along with brothers Scott Devendorf on bass and guitar and Bryan Devendorf on drums along with the aforementioned Berninger on vocals.

In celebration of the album announcement, the band have released the first single from the upcoming project “Tropic Morning News,” an upbeat song with kinetic rhythms and metallic texture with gilded grandeur through Dessner’s work with the London Contemporary Orchestra.

“When Matt came in with that song in the depths of his depression, it felt like a turning point for us,” shared Dessner of the song. “It’s almost Dylan-esque in its lyrics and it’s so much fun to play; everything suddenly felt like it was coming alive again.”

The song was co-written by Berniger’s wife, Carin Besser, and its title was inspired by a phrase she created to describe the routine practice of doomscrolling. “The idea of referring to the darkness of the news in such a light way unlocked something in me,” said Berninger. “It became a song about having a hard time expressing yourself, and trying to connect with someone when the noise of the world is drowning out any potential for conversation.”

Along with the album announcement and release of the lead single The National also announced 2023 tour dates, including a stop at Madison Square Garden in New York City with special guests. Other performances will see opening sets by Soccer Mommy, The Beths and Bartees Strange.

Tickets for the tour will go on sale Friday, Jan 27 at 10 a.m. local time. Learn more and find tickets here. See full dates below.

Pre-order First Two Pages of Frankenstein here.

Listen to “Tropic Morning News” below.

First Two Pages of Frankenstein track list:

  • Once Upon A Poolside (feat. Sufjan Stevens) 
  • Eucalyptus 
  • New Order T-Shirt 
  • This Isn’t Helping (feat. Phoebe Bridgers) 
  • Tropic Morning News
  • Alien 
  • The Alcott (feat. Taylor Swift) 
  • Grease In Your Hair 
  • Ice Machines 
  • Your Mind Is Not Your Friend (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
  • Send For Me 

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