Every record has a heartbeat. Some are propelled forward by pounding drums, others by the steady fingerpicking of a steel string guitar. Some are mechanical in their efficiency, others wavering and fragile and vulnerable.
The records that stay in my blood stream are the ones that drive forward, locking the listener into the foundation and movement of the music.
It's the power in the rhythm that defines The National's fourth album, Boxer. It feels like a fast walk at night on the uneven cement sidewalks of a new city. It's the high speed heartbeat-in-your-throat feeling of youth and adventure and young love and fresh nerves.
Throughout the album singer Matt Berninger invites you to listen in to the voice in his head. His personal inner dialogue on growth, love, family, and self-image. Flip flopping from confident to self deprecating, it's an honest image of a man growing into himself and into his city.
"I wanna hurry home to you / Put on a slow, dumb show for you and crack you up / So you can put a blue ribbon on my brain / God I'm very, very frightening, I'll overdo it"
The images that the album's lyrics create are mirrored in my own feelings of youth and adulthood. Boxer is a companion to the uneasiness of growth, as well as a trophy to the purity of new love and individuality. All the while being driven forward by the heartbeat of the music.