The National is gearing up to release their ninth studio album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein on April 28, and the band’s Bryce Dessner sat down with Hanuman Welch for ALT CTRL Radio on Apple Music 1 this week to discuss the project.
Most notably, Taylor Swift is featured on The National’s “The Alcott,” which will be included on the forthcoming album. The National previously worked with Swift on Evermore‘s “Coney Island,” and Bryce’s brother Aaron Dessner frequently collaborates with the 11-time Grammy winner. “We’re all big fans of Taylor, and she’s been really generous with us, inviting us to be part of ‘Coney Island,'” Bryce shared. “And obviously my brother’s worked with her a lot, and I’ve done a bunch of orchestration for her albums.”
He continued, “‘The Alcott’ is a song that she co-wrote with Matt [Berninger], where she co-wrote the lyrics. It’s really amazing to hear her, the way she was able to take what Matt had done and then reinvent the song, and it’s really a special song.”
As for the inspiration behind The National’s literary album title, Bryce explained that Berninger came up with the name, after the frontman went through a pause in creativity. “I think he was just blocked about what he wanted to sing about, lyrics weren’t coming,” he shared. “And typically in the past, he’ll pick up favorite books, and so apparently he picked up Frankenstein, the [Mary] Shelley book — people know the film and some people don’t realize it’s based on a book — and that helped him get out of his, somehow opened a door for him. I’m not sure why, maybe thinking about monsters or something. But, it helped open the flood gates and in the later stages of the album, he started writing really quickly.”
Listen to the full interview on-demand on Apple Music here.