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

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Photo Credit: Josh Goleman

The National have announced the release of its ninth studio album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, due April 28, 2023 via 4AD. Anchored by evocative melodies and an enthralling lyrical narrative, First Two Pages of Frankenstein signals a new chapter in the band’s beloved discography. The 11-song album was produced by The National at Long Pond Studios in upstate New York and features guest appearances by Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens. Pre-order for the album is available now HERE and at americanmary.com.

After two back-to-back albums and several busy years of touring, First Two Pages of Frankenstein was initially stalled while lead singer Matt Berninger navigated, “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.” Instead, 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,” according to guitarist/pianist Bryce Dessner, whose bandmates also include his brother Aaron (guitar/piano/bass) as well as brothers Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).

The band has also shared the first single off the album, the deceptively upbeat “Tropic Morning News.” Partly recorded live in Hamburg, the song merges its mercurial textures and kinetic rhythms with a lush yet subtle grandeur achieved through Bryce 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,” says Aaron Dessner. “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.”

Co-written with Berninger’s wife Carin Besser, “Tropic Morning News” takes its title from a phrase Besser invented to describe the regrettably routine practice of doomscrolling. “The idea of referring to the darkness of the news in such a light way unlocked something in me,” says 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.”

First Two Pages of Frankenstein channels the group’s revitalized chemistry into a body of work that beautifully balances elegant musicality with The National’s more idiosyncratic impulses. Tracks such as “Grease in Your Hair” and “Ice Machines” were road-tested in 2022 before they were recorded, allowing the band to hone the material in real time (another song, “Weird Goodbyes” featuring Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, was released as a standalone track last August). “To me the power of this record has to do with the intentionality and structure of the music meeting with a lot of accidental magic,” says Aaron Dessner.

The band has also today announced 2023 tour dates including a show at NYC’s Madison Square Garden with very special guest Patti Smith and her band. Other shows feature opening sets from Soccer Mommy, The Beths and Bartees Strange. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 27th at 10:00AM local time. Ticket info can be found at AmericanMary.com.

Formed in New York in 1999, The National has scored five top 10 albums on The Billboard 200, with 2017’s Sleep Well Beast earning the Grammy for Best Alternative Album.

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

The National on tour:
US
May 20 – Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theatre *
May 21 – Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theatre *
May 24 – Washington, DC – The Anthem *
May 26 – Boston, MA – Boston Calling Festival
May 28 – Napa, CA – Bottlerock Festival
May 30 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre *
June 2 – Troutdale, OR – McMenamins Edgefield *
June 3 – Troutdale, OR – McMenamins Edgefield *
June 4 – Redmond, WA – Marymoor Park *
June 5 – Burnaby, BC, Canada – Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park *
August 1 – Philadelphia, PA – The Met Philadelphia ~
August 3 – New Haven, CT – Westville Music Bowl ~
August 7 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore Detroit ~
August 8 – Madison, WI – The Sylvee ~
August 9 – Minneapolis, MN – The Armory ~
August 11 – Denver, CO – Mission Ballroom ~
August 15 – Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheater ~
August 16 – Atlanta, GA – Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park ~
August 18 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden with very special guest Patti Smith and her band

UK/EU
September 21 – Dublin, IRE – 3 Arena *
September 23 – Leeds, UK – First Direct Arena *
September 24 – Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro Arena *
September 26 – London, UK – Alexandra Palace *
September 29 – Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome ^
September 30 – Berlin, DE – Max-Schmeling-Halle ^
October 1 – Munich, DE – Zenith ^
October 4 – Madrid, ES – WiZink Center ^
October 5 – Porto, PT – Super Bock Arena ^
October 6 – Lisbon, PT – Campo Pequeno ^

Support:
*Soccer Mommy
~The Beths
^ Bartees Strange