There are times that when I listen to songs, I will turn them off if the time of day is not right, or if the moment was not right. A great example of this is the track “Lemonworld”, from The National’s fourth album High Violet.
I had always imagined that through the lyrics, the song is a kind of “Brideshead Revisited” in four minute version.

The lyrics, the slow and steady rhythm of the guitar are understated but crucial to bringing the song together. Further, the lyrics channel the Gatsby type of nihilism that seemed to abound during the early interwar era, as evidenced by the lyrics, “I’ve got cousins dying across the ocean…but it’ll take a better war to kill a college man like me.”

Indeed, the gasping interlude before the chorus adds a brevity to the song. In some cases there is not a great rhyming syntax. Instead it is better to phonetically vocalise the sounds that come between.

I am continueally reminded at how the nihilism of the early interwar years is seemingly more timely now than they have been in the past decade. I think this has to do more with the fact that the era of money and wealth and Brahmin style wealth has flourished in spite of itself; namely Wall Street and the era of big banking busts.

Artistic flourishes aside, the song has a tone that never fully crescendos. This works in its favour, as so much of the recent alternative music seems to need to end on a high note, thus defeating the sensuous darkness that the last three minutes were working through.

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