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The National's 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' looks back ... with paranoia

March 24, 2010 |  2:18 pm


Brooklyn-via-Ohio rock band the National looks back on its new single, "Bloodbuzz Ohio," but it's not a sense of nostalgia that permeates the cut. "I never married, but Ohio don't remember me," sings Matt Berninger, laying down his now-trademark numb-from-despair baritone.

Leaked today in rough form, the cut is from the upcoming 4AD/Beggars release "High Violet," due May 10, and Stereogum soon thereafter secured a label-sanctioned finished version of the track available for download (listen below). The guitars come sleek and fast, picking up pace throughout the track, all the while the rhythm packs in a slight stutter, threatening to fall off the rails. 

Berninger is ready to surrender to a would-be lover in the song's opening verse, but there's more than romance the National are hinting at here. "I still owe money to the money to the money that I owe," Berninger sings with a shade of background harmonies. Flashes of horns arrive in the song's final moments, but they're brief and fleeting, like street lamp lighting as one is driving down the highway at night. 

The whole song taps a sense of running -- from the past, from commitments or perhaps from something even darker. "I'm on a blood ... buzz" are the last vocals before the the song builds to a guitar pile-up and abruptly dissolves. 

The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio

-- Todd Martens

The National will play the Wiltern on May 21 and May 22. Tickets are still available, $22.50-$27.50, sans service charges. Photo: Keith Klenowski