Trouble Will Find Me

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Trouble Will Find Me
Trouble Will Find Me.jpg
Studio album by The National
Released May 17, 2013
Recorded 2012-13 at
Clubhouse, Dreamland and Aaron Dessner's Garage
(New York, United States)
Genre Indie rock, post-punk revival
Length 55:06
Language English
Label 4AD
Producer Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner
The National chronology
High Violet
Trouble Will Find Me
Singles from Trouble Will Find Me
  1. "Demons"
    Released: April 15, 2013 (radio)
  2. "Don't Swallow the Cap"
    Released: April 22, 2013 (radio)
  3. "Graceless"
    Released: August 26, 2013 (radio)
  4. "Sea of Love"
    Released: September 2, 2013 (radio)
  5. "I Need My Girl"
    Released: February 3, 2014

Trouble Will Find Me is the sixth studio album by American indie rock band The National, released on May 17, 2013 on 4AD.[1]

Produced by band members Aaron and Bryce Dessner, the album features appearances from St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Doveman, Sufjan Stevens, Nona Marie Invie, of Dark Dark Dark fame, and Richard Reed Parry, of Arcade Fire.[2]

The album received widespread critical acclaim upon its release. Trouble Will Find Me reached number three on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart. The album was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.


The National began writing Trouble Will Find Me towards the end of the band's tour in support of previous album, High Violet (2010). Regarding the tour's completion, and the collective mental state of the band at this time, lead vocalist Matt Berninger noted, "[We] felt satisfied at the end of touring High Violet. It was the first time ever, or at least in the past ten years, where we felt like we could put the band on the shelf for a little while, put a record out in three, four years. There wasn’t any sense of, 'what now?'"[3]

Berninger, however, became inspired by guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner's recent demo recordings, and subsequently completed his writing contributions to the album's opening track, "I Should Live in Salt", a day after initially hearing it. Bass guitarist Scott Devendorf noted, "Our typical way of working was to send stuff to Matt, then wait a while to get some mumbles back. He seemed really motivated and engaged with the new stuff."[3]


The band began recording Trouble Will Find Me in late September 2012, at a converted barn in Rhinebeck, New York, named Clubhouse. Bass guitarist Scott Devendorf stated that Clubhouse was chosen primarily to establish camaraderie amongst the band, noting: "The impetus to record upstate-- cooking, eating, working, hanging out together - was to achieve this music-camp feel."[3] The first four days of recording were interrupted by a tornado which subsequently led to a power cut. Guitarist, keyboardist and co-producer Aaron Dessner noted, "That night, by candlelight in the total darkness, we got really drunk and played the songs acoustically. It was the kind of scene that has never happened in the history of our band — and will never happen again."[3]

The band subsequently relocated to Dreamland Studios - located within a converted 19th century church, in West Hurley, New York - to record the track, "Fireproof", entirely live.[3] Inspired by the session, the band returned to Clubhouse and recorded both "Sea of Love" and "Heavenfaced" as one-take live performances. Recording at Clubhouse, however, was once again derailed by Hurricane Sandy, with Aaron Dessner stating, "I drove back into the city because I was worried about my family and the potential flooding, and got stuck there for four days."[3]

Dessner, who co-produced Trouble Will Find Me alongside his brother Bryce, noted that his experiences producing both Sharon Van Etten's Tramp (2012) and Local Natives' Hummingbird (2013) led him to understand the importance of "constructive, positive dialogue" in the recording studio, whereas before he and his bandmates would often argue throughout the process.[3]


Inspired by the recent birth of his daughter, Ingrid Stella Dessner, guitarist, keyboardist and co-producer Aaron Dessner began writing music with his child in mind. Vocalist Matt Berninger noted that he "react[ed] to it in a very visceral, immediate, infantile way."[3]

The lyrics to the album's opening track, "I Should Live in Salt", are directed towards Matt Berninger's brother, Tom, who directed the forthcoming band documentary, Mistaken for Strangers (2013).[3] Berninger stated that he enjoyed the writing process for Trouble Will Find Me noting, "In the past, it’s been hard to enjoy writing - like getting drops of blood from your forehead - but I loved the process for this record. I think a lot of it was because I wasn't worried - I didn't care what the songs were going to be about, or if they were going to seem depressing, or cool, or whatever."[3]


On December 8, 2011 the band performed on CBC Radio show Q in front of a live audience. Two new songs were performed for the first time: "Rylan" and "I Need My Girl." "I Need My Girl" is featured on the album.[4] The band embarked on a tour with the Dirty Projectors to support the album.[5] When asked about the album, Aaron Dessner, the guitarist, said "our ideas would immediately click with each other. It's free-wheeling again. The songs on one level are our most complex, and on another they're our most simple and human. It just feels like we've embraced the chemistry we have."[1]

On April 25, 2013 the band performed album track "Sea of Love" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[6] A music video for "Sea of Love", which alludes to Russian punk rock band Zvuki Mu's music video for their 1995 single "Grubiy Zakat (Грубый Закат)",[7] was released on the band's official YouTube account on May 8, 2013.[8]


"Demons" was released as the first single from Trouble Will Find Me.[9] The song peaked at number thirteen on the Belgian Ultratip singles chart for the Flanders region[10] and at number sixty-four on the Irish Singles Chart.[11] Its music video, released on August 8, 2013, features a time-lapse video depicting the creation of a Trouble Will Find Me mural.[12]

"Don't Swallow the Cap" was released to American modern rock radio on April 22 as the album's second single.[13] The single peaked at number seven on the Flanders Ultratip chart.[14]

"Graceless" impacted triple A radio on August 26,[15] with the music video being posted to the band's YouTube channel on August 27[16] and a release to modern rock radio following on August 29.[17] "I Need My Girl" was released to modern rock radio on January 28, 2014 as the album's fourth single.[18]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 84/100[19]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[20]
The A.V. Club A–[21]
Entertainment Weekly B[22]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[23]
The Independent 5/5 stars[24]
NME 8/10[21]
Pitchfork Media 8.4/10[25]
Q 3/5 stars[26]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[27]
Spin 7/10[28]

Critical reception[edit]

Trouble Will Find Me has received universal critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assign an average score out of 100 to reviews and ratings from mainstream music critics, the album has received a Metascore of 84, based on 44 reviews.[19]

James Christopher Monger found that the band "perfected their sound the last time around", which means that "it’s hard to fault them for sticking so close to the fire".[20] At American Songwriter, Jim Beviglia told that "progress may not be the right word [...] but sustained brilliance is a pretty good alternative."[20] Consequence of Sound's Megan Ritt said that the release "outlines the confidence to expand and experiment with the formula, paired with the skills to do it justice."[29] Maddy Costa of The Guardian felt that "the subtlety, and the self-awareness" made the album "exquisite."[23] At The Independent, Andy Gill proclaimed that the effort "will surely cement their accession to the rock mainstream."[24] Andrew Burgess of musicOMH called the release "a collection of waves that never break" that in all actuality "catharsis never comes," but the album contains "glimpses of light coming through at the edges, and a sense of perfect order among the chaos."[30]

Pitchfork's Ian Cohen rated the album an 8.4-out-of-ten, and told that the release is "both relatable and fantastical", which is "their most self-referential album."[25] At Now, Samantha Burgess claimed that "on Trouble Will Find Me, they’ve perfected it, knowing when a hook should explode and when to hold back and let Berninger’s signature, sombre baritone take over."[31] Paul Mardles of The Observer affirmed that The National "have perfected their ruminative rock, the beauty of their intricate arrangements ensuring the end product never sounds pedestrian", and called them "the real stars of the show."[32] At Rolling Stone, David Fricke discovered that on this album "The National are letting light and air into their shadows."[27] At Uncut, Louis Pattison rated the album an 8-out-of-10, and he alluded to how the release "suggest an uncertain soundtrack can still be a source of comfort", which is the reason he thought that "for the first time, The National sound relaxed in their skin."[33] Ryan E.C. Hamm of Under the Radar called this a "cohesive experience" that is yet "another accomplished entry".[34]

However, Q magazine had another point of view and published a negative review, saying: "For a band who sing so often about matters of the heart and emotional connection, much of Trouble Will Find Me sounds oddly on autopilot."[26]

Trouble Will Find Me has made numerous "albums of the year" lists including Pitchfork Media,[35] Rolling Stone[36] and Paste.[37]

Commercial performance[edit]

Trouble Will Find Me debuted at #3 on the US Billboard 200 with 74,722 copies sold in its first week.[38] It has sold 250,000 copies in the US alone. The album made top-ten debuts in fourteen countries other than the US.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "I Should Live in Salt"   4:08
2. "Demons"   3:32
3. "Don't Swallow the Cap" (Berninger, A. Dessner, Bryce Dessner) 4:46
4. "Fireproof"   2:58
5. "Sea of Love"   3:41
6. "Heavenfaced" (Berninger, B. Dessner) 4:23
7. "This Is the Last Time" (Berninger, A. Dessner, B. Dessner) 4:43
8. "Graceless"   4:35
9. "Slipped"   4:25
10. "I Need My Girl"   4:05
11. "Humiliation" (Berninger, A. Dessner, B. Dessner) 5:01
12. "Pink Rabbits"   4:36
13. "Hard to Find" (Berninger, B. Dessner) 4:13
Japanese CD
No. Title Length
14. "Learning" (Mike Hadreas) 2:59



Chart (2013) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[39] 2
Austrian Albums Chart[40] 7
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[41] 2
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[42] 25
Canadian Albums Chart 3
Danish Albums Chart[43] 3
Dutch Albums Chart[44] 7
Finnish Albums Chart[45] 3
German Albums Chart[46] 11
Greek Albums Chart[47] 32
Irish Albums Chart[48] 2
Irish Independent Albums Chart[49] 1
Italian Albums Chart[50] 20
New Zealand Albums Chart[51] 2
Portuguese Albums Chart[52] 2
Scottish Albums Chart[53] 4
Spanish Albums Chart[54] 14
Swiss Albums Chart[55] 6
UK Albums Chart[56] 3
UK Indie Albums Chart[57] 1
US Billboard 200[58] 3
US Alternative Albums 1
US Independent Albums 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Position
Belgium (Ultratop Flanders)[59] 53

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Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Australia May 17, 2013 Digital download, CD, LP 4AD
United Kingdom May 20, 2013
Canada May 21, 2013
United States
Japan May 22, 2013


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