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The National Hints at New LP and Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers Collaborations

More details about the project are expected in the coming days
Photo: Graham Tolbert & Eric Timothy Carlson

The National is sending fans on a social media scavenger hunt to decipher hidden clues behind its as-yet-unannounced ninth LP, and they seem to suggest collaborations with some major names.

Yesterday (Jan. 13), the band shared a gritty, black-and-white teaser video on its official accounts. It featured frontman Matt Berninger playing the piano and reading pages from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a keys-heavy track played in the background.

The caption in the post directs followers to this web site, which then asks for a password. Type in “EVIL FOREBODINGS” and an image appears with a doctored version of the opening pages of Shelley’s classic novel as more new music plays.

However, rather than being addressed to Mrs. Saville as it is in the original book, this letter greets “Mrs. Bridgers.” Other names in the passage have been changed to Taylor and Uncle Sufjan, leading to speculation that Phoebe Bridgers, Taylor Swift, and Sufjan Stevens will be featured guests on the new tracks.

The clues fit with a leaked track list that Redditors uncovered on Amazon this week, when the National’s information was mistakenly published on the product page for Belle and Sebastian’s new album (it has since been removed).

The new album follows 2019’s I Am Easy To Find. The band’s summer 2022 tour featured the live debuts of several new songs, including “Grease In Your Hair (Birdie),” “Tropic Morning News (Havisham),” and “Bathwater (Mount Auburn).” At least a couple of them are included in the leaked track list.

In August, the National also released a new song with Bon Iver called “Weird Goodbyes” and, a month later, band member Bryce Dessner was announced as the first Artist-In-Residence at the new Schwarzman Center opened at his alma mater Yale University.


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