The National's phenomenally gorgeous and heartbreaking album, Alligator, is being re-released in Europe to lead into their tour there in May -- and it comes with a bonus disc (which you can download for free if you already own the album, more deets here) that includes these two band-supervised remixes.
I was a bit startled to hear these new versions at first, as pathologically attached as I am to the originals. I thought they seemed a bit drained of emotion and overly chilled -- which is odd seeing as The National is about the most genuinely and unabashedly emotional band working today -- but on further listening, I found this not to be the case. The structure of the songs have just been rearranged a little bit, almost to have a better narrative flow in the dynamic structure, if that makes sense. "Lit Up" is a little less urgent in the beginning, but becomes more compressed and intense as the song progresses; "Secret Meeting"'s focus is cleaner, the mix seems to be pulled down to focus on Matt's vocals, and it introduces each element (drums, guitar, keys, strings) at interesting intervals, so by the end, it's bombastic and multi-layered -- like peeling apart an onion in reverse. Or, alternatively, becoming a concrete manifestation of the emotional obfuscation mentioned in the song.
The National -- Lit Up (remix)
The National -- Secret Meeting (remix)
Amusingly, my seekrit intarweb boyfriend Bows + Arrows also has a track up from this disc today.
After a lovely show-going experience this weekend (more on that later, over on DFG, probably -- as well as my long-promised recap of the Baby Dee show), I'm back into the swing of things this week -- tomorrow is The Wedding Present, Cue is playing Wednesday, Thursday is the triumphal return of I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, Friday is Ariel Pink *and* What Made Milwaukee Famous (not on the same bill, naturally -- outside and inside at Emo's, respectively), and Saturday is Electric Six and the wonderfully so-bad-they're-good She Wants Revenge. Basically, um, I'll be at Emo's nearly every night this week, in case you're looking for me. Welcome to the pre-SXSW insanity, which begins roughly, oh ... NOW!
[Oh, and even though the rest of the new Yeah Yeah Yeah's album was leaked over the weekend, you can bet I won't be posting any more tracks -- sorry about that -- and the fact that I had to take down the ones I'd already posted...]