With Matt Berninger’s debut solo album drawing ever closer, today The National’s frontman has shared One More Second, a “classic, simple, desperate” love song.
If there’s any songwriter in the world who knows how to find your heart and twist the knife, it’s Matt Berninger. But for one reason or another, you’ll keep coming back. In his new solo single One More Second, The National’s frontman attempts to write an antithetical response to Dolly Parton’s classic I Will Always Love You, “or sort of the other side of that conversation”.
“I just wanted to write one of those classic, simple, desperate love songs that sound great in your car”, Berninger shared in a press release.
One More Second was written alongside Matt Sheehy, who has previously shared the stage with Berninger as part of EL VY. As with the rest of Berninger’s upcoming record Serpentine Prison, the song was produced by Booker T. Jones (of Booker T. & the M.G.’s. fame).
The song plays out as Berninger suggests, a hopeless plea to be taken back from someone who’s been delivered a lover’s ultimatum: “And the way we talked last night/It felt like a different kind of fight”.
Berninger’s vocal is as melancholic as ever, underscored by a soft instrumental, content to be background until a mixed piano/organ solo signs off the song. It’s a neat nod to Booker T.’s influence over the record, the organ staying bubbly cool until the arrangement spares it moment to take off.
Serpentine Prison, originally slated to land slightly earlier, has now been pushed to release on Friday October 16th. Aside from Booker and Sheehy, the record pulls in a stellar cast of players including Beirut’s Ben Lanz, The Walkmen’s Walter Martin (who co-wrote the last album single, Distant Axis), harmonica extraordinaire Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Harrison Whitford (a solo artist and Phoebe Bridgers’ guitarist), Gail Ann Dorsey (longtime bassist to David Bowie), Scott Devendorf from The National, and many others.
The results speak for themselves. Even when he isn’t flanked by the Dessners and the Devendorfs, Berninger doesn’t fail to bring some spine-tingling accompaniments along for the ride. Selecting the right team can be as troublesome as directing a film or spinning plates, but it’s a skill Berninger seems to have embraced with ease.
Going off what we’ve heard so far from the record – One More Second, Distant Axis, and the title track – Serpentine Prison is shaping up to be one of 2020’s most enchanting and beautiful releases. But really, did you really expect anything less?
Serpentine Prison is out October 16th via via Book’s Records/Concord Records/Caroline Australia. Purchase or stream your copy here.