- 22 Aug 22
The single continues the tradition of Justin Vernon’s collaborations with the band in the studio and on stage.
The National have been playing a number of new songs live since returning to the road this May, with the bband now releasing 'Weird Goodbyes' via 4AD alongside Bon Iver.
“It’s about letting go of the past and moving on, then later being overwhelmed by second thoughts,” says The National lead singer Matt Berninger of the song, which also features strings by the London Contemporary Orchestra as orchestrated by The National’s Bryce Dessner.
On the process of making the single, Aaron Dessner says, “‘Weird Goodbyes’ was one of the first new songs we made. I was misusing drum machines, as usual, and stumbled onto this beat that got stuck in my head - it felt like something only Bryan could naturally play. We built the song around the beat. Matt's melody and words felt so elegant and moving from the beginning - mourning a loss of innocence and motivation, holding onto memories and feelings that inevitably slip away and the grief we all suffer in weird goodbyes.”
Dessner also explains how Bon Iver came to be featured on the track, “I somehow could hear our friend Justin's voice and heart in this song from the beginning. We sent it to him and it moved him - he then sang with Matt so powerfully.”
Formed in New York in 1999, The National consists of Matt Berninger (vocals) fronting two pairs of brothers: Aaron (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar, piano, orchestration), and Scott (bass, guitar) and drummer Bryan Devendorf. The group has scored five top 10 albums on The Billboard 200, with 2017’s Sleep Well Beast earning the Grammy for Best Alternative Album.
Beyond its albums and sold-out worldwide tours, The National’s outside activities include Berninger’s 2020 effort Serpentine Prison and Bryan Devendorf’s Royal Green - plus side projects like the Devendorf brothers’ avant-rock supergroup LNZNDRF with Ben Lanz and Aaron Arntz.
As a producer, Aaron Dessner has worked with artists such as Sharon Van Etten, Ben Howard, Gracie Abrams and King Princess. He also co-produced Taylor Swift’s folklore and evermore albums (also orchestrated by Bryce), both of which earned Album of the Year Grammy nominations (folklore won the award).
Big Red Machine, the ever-morphing project between Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, released their second album in 2021.
Listen to 'Weird Goodbyes' feat. Bon Iver below.