Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers collaborate with national on new album "First Two Pages Of Frankenstein"

Monday 01 May 2023

Already a monstrously successful group by anyone's measure (having amassed over a billion streams thus far and even won a Grammy), The National aim even bigger with their ninth studio album First Two Pages of Frankenstein — seemingly asking and answering the question: what constitutes a US "rock group" in 2023? Enhancing the scale of their canvas to Super Bowl stadium-sized proportions, they invited such icons of our present day as Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens to contribute to their new eleven song opus, which saw frontman Matt Berninger and band of brothers Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner, Scott Devendorf and Bryan Devendorf emerge from the purgatory of creative paralysis (Berninger was in "a very dark spot where I couldn’t come up with lyrics or melodies at all, and that period lasted for over a year") to release their most expansive and inclusive outing to date.

From the tender keys-inflected croons of 'Once Upon A Poolside' to intimate balladic closer 'Send For Me', First Two Pages of Frankenstein heard in its entirety conversely feels like a major musical event of this year — including earlier singles 'Eucalyptus', 'New Order T-Shirt', 'Tropic Morning News' and 'Your Mind Is Not Your Friend' featuring the aforementioned Bridgers. Their video for hugely anticipated Taylor Swift collaboration 'The Alcott' launches at 4pm NZST today, but lucky Aotearoa residents can listen to the full album right now thanks to the magic of time zones. 

"Matt wrote the main part of the song to some music I had written which Taylor had heard and I knew liked, so I thought it might be something she would really click with. I sent it to her, and was a little nervous as I didn't hear back for 20 minutes or so. By the time she responded, Taylor had written all her parts and recorded a voice memo with the lyrics she’d added in a dialogue with Matt, and everyone fell immediately in love with it." — Aaron Dessner

"When I feel stuck I’ll often grab a book off the shelf just to get some words in my head, and the first two pages of Frankenstein ended up triggering the song 'Your Mind Is Not Your Friend'.” — Matt Berninger