The National: A Lot of Sorrow (4AD) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The National

A Lot of Sorrow


Jul 16, 2015 The National Bookmark and Share

How many times could you listen to the same song repeatedly? Or, if you’re a musician, how many times could you handle playing that song over and over? On May 5, 2013, The National took part in such a study in endurance when they played their song “Sorrow” continuously for six hours, in collaboration with Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson as part of NYC’s Museum of Modern Art PS1’s Sunday Sessions.

The entire performance is being released as A Lot of Sorrow, a nine-disc box set on clear vinyl, with all profits being donated to Partners In Health. Even for a National fan this may sound like a bit much to handle, but once you let go of the notion that this three-minute, twenty-five-second song has an ending to anticipate, it begins to flow more like a single tune that simply ebbs and flows, with the percussion ticking along to connect the ending once again to the opening notes.

It’s to The National’s credit that they manage to play it straight throughout without straying toward improvisation or elsewhere, aside from the occasional bit of extra accent on one instrument or another, and staying true to the project’s intent. By the last disc, the crowd is wildly cheering the band on in the last lap of what was very much a shared experience. (

Author rating: 7/10

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