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The National Strolls Down Memory Lane on ‘New Order T-Shirt’

Photo: Josh Goleman

The National leans fully into nostalgia on “New Order T-Shirt,” the second track from the band’s upcoming album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein. On the song, frontman Matt Berninger rattles off bits and pieces of memories accumulated during time spent with an unknown person: the color of their American Spirits (blue), talking to sharks at an aquarium in Kentucky, the “ashes” that “filled the streets” of Manhattan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and an incident with customs police at an airport in Hawaii.

“I keep what I can of you / Split second glimpses and snapshots and sounds / You in my New Order t-shirt / Holding a cat and a glass of beer,” Berninger sings over gentle guitar lines and the band’s signature chiming melodies. The accompanying music video accentuates the walk down memory lane with black and white photos of the National from throughout its 20-plus years of existence.

“There’s a simplicity to ‘New Order T-Shirt’ that reminds me of our earlier records, but with the full maturity and experience we have now,” says the National’s Aaron Dessner, who has already said that “New Order T-Shirt” is one of his favorite songs ever written by the group. “It feels like a really important song for the future of our band.”


First Two Pages of Frankenstein will be released on April 24 by 4AD and includes guest appearances by Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, and Sufjan Stevens. Five of the songs debuted live on tour last year: the album’s first single, “Tropic Morning News,” “Ice Machines,” “This Isn’t Helping,” “Grease in Your Hair,” and “Eucalyptus.”

The National has tacked on several dates to its previously announced 2023 world tour, including May 18-19 shows in Chicago that will now serve as the first of the run. Second shows have also been added in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Denver, and London.