With the stately grace that typify the band’s distinctive sound, “Weird Goodbyes’ is a delicate yearning track with Vernon’s contribution adding a different, softer texture and strings augmenting the ethereal tone. A paean to loss and departure and the memories left behind, the lyrics are a fragile exploration of the need for relevance and permanency in a transient life:
Memorize the bathwater, memorize the air
There’ll come a time I’ll wanna know I was here
Names on the doorframes, inches and ages
Handprints in concrete, at the softest stages
The National lead singer Matt Berninger says of the song, which also features strings by the London Contemporary Orchestra as orchestrated by The National’s Bryce Dessner:
It’s about letting go of the past and moving on, then later being overwhelmed by second thoughts.
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.
The result is something quite magnificent:
‘Weird Goodbyes’ can be streamed and downloaded here and through the link below:
Feature Photograph: Josh Goleman