In what’s great news for fans of morose and meticulously-arranged indie rock, The National announced their eighth album I Am Easy To Find. It’s out May 17 via 4AD and is the band’s follow-up to their excellent 2017 LP Sleep Well Beast. But this isn’t a typical album announcement for the veteran rockers: the full-length is paired with a 24-minute short film of the same name directed by Mike Mills ( Beginners, 20th Century Women). As a press release states, “The former is not the video for the latter; the latter is not the soundtrack to the former.” The film stars Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander, features music from the album, and will be out the same day as the album. Watch the trailer below.
To go with the announcement, the National aslo shared lead single “You Had Your Soul With You,” which boasts guest vocals from Gail Ann Dorsey, a longtime touring vocalist for David Bowie. While it’s a pretty buoyant track musically, the lyrics are practically soaked in melancholy with frontman Matt Berninger singing, “And I just can’t find a way to forgive myself / I had only one thing left / And I couldn’t see it yet.” But it’s Dorsey who shines on the song with her masterfully taking over the third verse.
That collaboration with Dorsey is one of many on the LP with Sharon Van Etten, Kate Stables Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Lisa Hannigan, and Mina Tindle also guesting. Berninger explained in a statement, “Yes, there are a lot of women singing on this, but it wasn’t because, ‘Oh, let’s have more women’s voices. It was more, ‘Let’s have more of a fabric of people’s identities.’ It would have been better to have had other male singers, but my ego wouldn’t let that happen.” I Am Easy To Find was produced by Mills and the National and mostly recorded at Long Pond, Hudson Valley, NY.
Listen to “You Had Your Soul With You” below and peruse the National’s upcoming tour dates.