The National Know You All Too Well

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A still from Push. Photo: Getty Images

The "serious lady" who is the subject of the National's new song, "So Far Around the Bend," is trapped in place ("now there's no leaving New York") and in time ("praying for Pavement to get back together"). The band, however, is not. With a spring in its step and pastoral woodwind-and-string accompaniment, this track shows the eerily consistent Brooklyn quintet stretching out a bit, and the results are quietly impressive. The song appears on Dark Was the Night, an AIDS-benefit compilation curated by the band that marks both twenty years and twenty albums from the Red Hot organization. We're streaming it here, but not posting a charity-defeating download link. We have some standards.