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The National is the debut studio album by American indie rock band The National, released on October 30, 2001 on Brassland Records. Recorded prior to guitarist Bryce Dessner's full arrival into the band, The National was produced by both Nick Lloyd and the band itself. Regular bass guitarist Scott Devendorf, instead, performs both guitar and backing vocals on this album, with regular guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner on bass guitar and guitar duties.

The album features a more country-tinged sound in comparison to future albums. Lyrics from "29 Years" would later be used in "Slow Show" from the band's 2007 album, Boxer.


 [hide*1 Background and recording

Background and recording[edit]Edit

The album features guest contributions from forthcoming member Bryce Dessner, with his brother Aaron noting, "When we recorded [the album], my brother wasn't even in the band. We made the record before we ever played a show. We did it just to do it."[1]


The album's front cover features drummer Bryan Devendorf in a swimming pool.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [2]
Pitchfork Media (6.6/10) [3]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written and composed by The National. 

No. Title Length
1. "Beautiful Head"   3:08
2. "Cold Girl Fever"   4:06
3. "The Perfect Song"   3:15
4. "American Mary"   4:03
5. "Son"   5:20
6. "Pay for Me"   3:23
7. "Bitters & Absolut"   4:00
8. "John's Star"   3:05
9. "Watching You Well"   3:02
10. "Theory of the Crows"   4:37
11. "29 Years"   2:50
12. "Anna Freud"   3:09


The National[edit]Edit

Additional musicians[edit]Edit

  • Mike Brewer
  • Bryce Dessner
  • Nathalie Jonas
  • Nick Lloyd
  • Jeff Salem

Recording personnel[edit]Edit

  • Nick Lloyd - producer, recording, mixing
  • Mike Brewer - pre-production
  • Jeff Salem - pre-production
  • Ue Nastasi - mastering


  • Mauricio Carey - photography
  • Pope Rathman - photography

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