9. About Today - The National (2004)
When you're in the mood for a bit of sombre folk rock there isn't many better bands to turn to than The National. Over the years they've drawn a cult like following of fans eager to share in the emotional turmoil often expressed in their tantalising music.
The melancholic beauty of their melodies does most of the heavy lifting for you, with all the interwinding string instruments imbuing a sense of loss, there's never the less a hint of hopeful defiance running through their music.
A trade mark of singer Matt Berninger's lyrics are the sparse and somewhat ambiguous nature to them, far from being a turn off, it leaves them open for multiple interpretations.
About Today is no exception. The most popular meaning ascribed to the lyrics are that they represent the regret and powerlessness felt during the dwindling moments of relationship. With repeated lines, "how close am I to losing you?" symbolic of someone aware of but unwilling to accept that the end is nigh.
Another potential meaning of the song is the drawn out and painful process that comes with a loved one with terminal illness. "You just close your eyes and I just watch you slip away".
That's the brilliance of Berninger's lyricism, depending on the life experience of the listener the song could mean all manor of things. No matter the true intent behind Berninger's lyrics, this particular track is one of their more hauntingly beautiful.