The National in 2006 / photo by David Greenwald
If you, like me, found the National’s High Violet falling just short of the band’s past classics, you might have skipped this year’s one-offs: “Think You Can Wait,” from the film Win Win; and “Exile Vilify,” recorded for the video game Portal 2. But they’re worth tracking down. “Exile Vilify,” the better of the two, improves on HV with a sardonic piano melody and a swelling string section — the sort of Boxer-ish arrangement that was stripped back on their more recent effort. “Think You Can Wait” is more in line with HV and its towering sadness: “I was drifting, crying,” Matt Berninger sings to open the song, but the music’s meticulous slow build (and the Sharon Van Etten guest vocal) rewards careful listening. Get both tracks on your digital outlet of choice (I bought ’em on Amazon).
The National – Exile Vilify by weallwantsome1
The National – Think You Can Wait by quietriot79