Review: The National – ‘Sunshine On My Back’


A slow-paced but wonderfully gentle song to listen to.

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Yesterday, as if from nowhere, The National unveiled a new single. ‘Sunshine On My Back’ is the first song from the Brooklyn based band to be released since Trouble Will Find Me in 2013, and the track is confirmed to have been leftover from their recording of the album – so sadly it does not look as though there is a new album on the horizon just yet. The National have made the track available for free download with any purchase of their film Mistaken For Strangers. However, a new old song is better than none, and ‘Sunshine On My Back’ is a lovely track.

Opening with a repeating snare that runs as an undercurrent throughout the track, listeners are lulled through by Matt Berninger’s soothing vocals. Berninger is then joined by piano riffs which adds body to the track as is slowly creeps towards its climax, with no punchy chorus until around one and a half minutes. Here, listeners might expect the song to erupt into ‘Mr November’-esque angsty shouts, but ‘Sunshine On My Back’ takes a a more subtle exit and gently peters out. The song’s strengths lie in Berninger’s vocals, lifted too by a collaboration with Sharon Van Etten, and its lyrics about a character named Tina that are beautifully paced throughout the song.

‘Sunshine On My Back’ does not quite reach the height and intensity of other tracks on Trouble Will Find Me, which is maybe why it did not make the final cut. That said, it is a wonderfully gentle song that could quite happily be listened to for hours on end.

‘Sunshine On My Back’ is available now via iTunes and Spotify, and a free download is available for those who purchase Mistaken for Strangers from the official site.


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Third year English student, Records Editor, list maker and lover of Kinder Buenos.

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