Boxer (album)

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Boxer
Studio album by The National
Released May 22, 2007
Recorded Tarquin Studios, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Genre Indie rock, post-punk revival
Length 43:07
Language English
Label Beggars Banquet
Producer Peter Katis and The National
The National chronology
Alligator
(2005)
Boxer
(2007)
The Virginia EP
(2008)
Singles from Boxer
  1. "Mistaken for Strangers"
    Released: April 30, 2007
  2. "Apartment Story"
    Released: November 5, 2007
  3. "Fake Empire"
    Released: June 23, 2008

Boxer is the fourth studio album by American indie rock band The National, released on May 22, 2007 on Beggars Banquet Records. Produced by both Peter Katis and the band itself, the album has sold over 300,000 copies worldwide.[1] Following its release, the album debuted at #68 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 9,500 copies in its first week.[2]

A documentary film, entitled A Skin, A Night, was released the following year. Focusing on the recording process of Boxer, the film was directed by independent filmmaker Vincent Moon, and released in conjunction with a collection of b-sides, demos and live recordings, entitled The Virginia EP , on May 20, 2008.

Background and recording[edit]

The band recorded Boxer with producer Peter Katis, with vocalist Matt Berninger stating, "We recorded a lot of it at home. Probably half and half of home recording and recording with Peter in the studio. We always kind of work that way, going in and out of studios and then back home. We have little home set-ups. He has been a big part of the band for awhile, [sic] at least in the recording of the records. He kind of jumps in as a seventh member."[3]

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens appears on the tracks, "Racing Like a Pro" and "Ada". Regarding his recording contributions, Berninger noted, "Bryce has played a lot with [Sufjan’s] touring band, so Bryce knows him really well. And [Sufjan] lives in the same neighborhood that Bryce and Aaron live in. They just called him and he came over for a day. It was a one-day collaboration. Him, Bryce and Aaron hang out a lot and make little songs together, so it was really a kind of casual type of collaboration."[3]

Writing and composition[edit]

The track, "Slow Show", contains lyrics from the band's song, "29 Years," which previously appeared on their self-titled debut album.

Artwork[edit]

The album cover is a photo of the band performing the track, "The Geese of Beverly Road", from the band's previous album, Alligator (2005), at producer Peter Katis' wedding.[4]

Promotion[edit]

The National made their television debut on July 24, 2007, performing "Fake Empire" on the Late Show with David Letterman. The band later performed "Apartment Story" on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on September 26, 2007. Two songs off Boxer appeared in episodes of the NBC series Chuck. "Slow Show" appeared on "Chuck Versus the Tango" which aired October 8, 2007, while "Fake Empire" appeared in "Chuck Versus the Break-up" on October 13, 2008.

"Slow Show" was also featured in Gossip Girl, in the episode "O Brother, where Bart Thou?" while "Fake Empire" appeared in the final scenes of the pilot episode of NBC's police drama Southland, as well as the concluding scenes of the 2008 movie Battle in Seattle. "Fake Empire" also featured in Barack Obama's campaign video "Signs of Hope and Change." "Start a War" appeared on an episode of The Riches, which aired March 25, 2008 and "Bullet," the 19th episode of the 7th and final season of Cold Case, aired on April 4, 2010, as well as in the 2011 film Warrior.

"Mistaken for Strangers" made an appearance in an advertisement for E4's Skins series. The fifth season premiere of the teen drama One Tree Hill was titled "Racing Like a Pro," and during the episode the songs "Fake Empire," "Green Gloves," and "Slow Show" were featured. The tenth episode of the science fiction drama Defying Gravity, titled "Deju Vu," featured the song "Start a War", as did the episode of medical drama House, titled "Larger Than Life".

In pop-culture[edit]

The album has had pop-cultural reach, with lyrics from "Racing Like A Pro" having been excerpted in the novel Imperial Bedrooms by American author Bret Easton Ellis.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 86/100[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [6]
AbsolutePunk (95%) [7]
Pitchfork Media (8.6/10) [8]
PopMatters (9/10) [9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars
Slant 5/5 stars [10]
Spin (8/10) [11]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars [12]
Stylus A [13]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4/5 stars [14]

In the year-end issue of Paste the album was named the best record of 2007. "Mistaken for Strangers" was #92 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Best Songs of 2007."[15] Popular internet publication Pitchfork Media ranked the album #17 in their annual end-of-the-year "Top 50 Albums of 2007" list,[16] as well as on Stylus Magazine's "Top 50 Albums of 2007" list at #5.[17] Stylus also ranked "Fake Empire" at #7 on their "Top 50 Songs of 2007" list.[18]Boxer also garnered the #1 position on WOXY.com's "97 Best of 2007.".[19]

Boxer has made numerous "albums of the decade" lists including Pitchfork Media,[20] Aquarium Drunkard,[21] Paste,[22] The Pop Cop,[23] and more.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by The National, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Fake Empire"     3:25
2. "Mistaken for Strangers"     3:30
3. "Brainy"   The National, Carin Besser 3:18
4. "Squalor Victoria"     2:59
5. "Green Gloves"     3:39
6. "Slow Show[24]"     4:08
7. "Apartment Story"     3:32
8. "Start a War"     3:16
9. "Guest Room"     3:18
10. "Racing Like a Pro"     3:23
11. "Ada"   The National, Carin Besser 4:03
12. "Gospel"   The National, Carin Besser 4:29
Japanese CD and iTunes bonus tracks
No. Title Length
13. "Blank Slate"   3:17
14. "Santa Clara"   4:06

Credits[edit]

  • Matt Berninger - vocals
  • Aaron Dessner - guitar, keyboards, piano, percussion, vocals
  • Bryce Dessner - guitar, piano
  • Bryan Devendorf - drums, percussion
  • Scott Devendorf - bass, vocals
  • Produced by Peter Katis and The National.
  • Additional production by Aaron Dessner.
  • Recorded and mixed by Peter Katis at Tarquin Studios, Bridgeport, CT.
  • Second engineer: Greg Georgio; assisted by Nathan Curry and Cory Foley-Marsello.
  • Home recording by The National and Brandon Reid in Brooklyn, NY and White Sulphur Springs, WV.
  • Additional recording by Greg Georgio and Josh Clark at The Seaside Lounge, and Bennett Paster at Benny's Wash n' Dry, Brooklyn.
  • Mastered by Fred Kevorkian at Kevorkian Mastering, New York, NY.
  • Orchestration by Padma Newsome.
  • Additional arrangements by Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner.
  • Cover photo by Abbey Drucker.
  • Interior photos by Clara Claus.
  • Design by Distant Station Ltd.
Additional musicians
  • Tim Albright – trombone
  • Thomas Bartlett – keyboards
  • Carin Besser – vocals
  • CJ Camerieri – trumpet
  • Rachael Elliott – bassoon
  • Pauline de Lassus – vocals
  • Marla Hansen – vocals
  • Ha-Yang Kim – cello
  • Padma Newsome – viola, violin, organ
  • Sara Phillips – clarinet
  • Alex Sopp – flute
  • Sufjan Stevens – piano on "Racing Like a Pro" and "Ada"
  • Jeb Wallace – French horn

References[edit]

  1. ^ "en-us > Main Body Tabbed". En-us.nielsen.com. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  2. ^ Katie Hasty, "Maroon 5 Nudges Linkin Park From Atop Billboard 200", Billboard.com, May 30, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Cheng, Cheryl. "Interview: Matt Berninger of The National". thescenester.typad.com. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "The National's Berninger Talks Boxer, Baseball, CYHSY". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Metacritic Score". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Phares, Heather. "The National - Boxer". Allmusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "National, The - Boxer". AbsolutePunk.net. Buzzmedia Music. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (21 May 2007). "The National - Boxer". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media, Inc. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  9. ^ Kelly, Jennifer (21 May 2007). "The National: Boxer". PopMatters. PopMatters Media, Inc. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Newlin, Jimmy (18 May 2007). "The National: Boxer". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Hunter, James (29 June 2007). "The National, 'Boxer'". Spin. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "The National - Boxer (staff review)". Sputnikmusic.com. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  13. ^ Cohen, Ian (22 May 2007). "The National - Boxer". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  14. ^ Canino, Jeffrey. "The National - Boxer". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  15. ^ No byline (December 11, 2007). "The 100 Best Songs of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  16. ^ Pitchfork Media - Top 50 Albums of 2007
  17. ^ Stylus Staff (31 October 2007). "Top 50 Albums of 2007". Stylus. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Stylus Staff (31 October 2007). "Top 50 Songs of 2007". Stylus. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  19. ^ WOXY.com - The 97 Best of 2007
  20. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 150-101". Pitchfork. 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  21. ^ "Decade :: The National, Boxer (2007)". Aquarium Drunkard. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  22. ^ Hughes, Ken. "The 50 Best Albums of the Decade (2000-2009) :: Blogs :: List of the Day :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  23. ^ "The best albums of the decade (2000-09)". The Pop Cop. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  24. ^ Includes "29 years" from the National's debut album

External links[edit]