The anticipation for The National‘s upcoming album I Am Easy To Find has been building for a couple of months now. They kicked things off with the eclectic-sounding lead single “You Had Your Soul With You,” followed that up with the flawlessly executed ballad “Light Years,” and have even gone on to play the album live in full for a handful of special events. Now we’re just about two weeks from its release, and the wait is getting even harder. Luckily for all of us, though, The National have opted to drop a third single from the 16-track LP with “Hairpin Turns.”
The likelihood that “Hairpin Turns” was going to wind up as the next single seemed inevitable since last week when the band quietly released a 7″ featuring “You Had Your Soul With You” alongside the new track. Now it’s finally here. If you liked the oddness of the lead single and the melancholy calm of “Light Years,” the new track tries to please you by folding those two sounds together. It’s an odd little song, with a very slight experimental edge in the terms of how the track is constructed. It builds piece by piece with each instrument getting their own shining moments, and each guest vocalist given a chance to stand out as well. And although it has pieces of everything we’re likely to expect from the bulk of I Am Easy To Find, there is something just kind of strange about it all. Perhaps it’s the broodingly dark lyrics, or maybe it’s the spaciousness in the instrumental bed. And yet there is a hook here that’ll keep drawing you back in, making it destined to be one of The National’s classic growers.
Along with the digital (and physical) single release, the band have also dropped an accompanying video for “Hairpin Turns.” It’s not footage taken from the upcoming short film (also titled I Am Easy To Find) like the video for “Light Years.” But, it does see the band once again collaborating with the short film’s director Mike Mills. Speaking about the intention of the video, Mills stated:
“The video is a very simple portrait of the band (and the friends who helped make the song) and the song itself: You see all the instruments that make up the song in isolation, even hear them recorded live on set over the album version, kind of like showing you the tracks that make up the song. And you see everyone who contributed alone, including Gail Ann Dorsey, Pauline Delasser (aka Mina Tindle) and Kate Stables – but your mind puts them together. The dancer Sharon Eyal is sort of a continuation of Alicia Vikander’s character from the film “I Am Easy To Find”. We thought of her as Alicia’s unconscious, or her shadow self – that has her own life in this space.”
Give “Hairpin Turns” a watch down below.
I Am Easy To Find is out May 17. Pre-order it now.