In The National’s new video for “I’ll Still Destroy You,” drum machines do wonders for the libido.
Directed by Allan Sigurðsson and Ragnar Kjartansson, the video boasts a bearded sailor on a stripper pole, nipple tassels spinning while the band is headlining a curiously lavish party—fitting, as the lyrics detail pushing your partner-in-heels up against a wall to demonstrate that the desire’s only grown over the years, baby. Music and lyrics build into a heart-wrenching, emotional breakdown typical of the band, no matter what musical stage they’re in. This is the era of Sleep Well Beast, the band’s seventh studio album, released last month—it’s their wisest to date.
Berninger’s fleeting memories in “I’ll Still Destroy You” delve into existential crises that can at once be extrapolated into shared loneliness. “I have no positions / no point of view or vision / I’m just trying to stay in touch with / anything I’m still in touch with,” he sings. There is a sense that the frontman/lyricist is opening to the ethos of “what will be will be,” and that being comfortable is okay.
There’s also a mysterious older lady watching the band from the audience, who we can safely assume isn’t Berninger’s wife, Carin Besser. Wherever Besser is, she’s probably enjoying ravishing and being ravished by the frontman of a band dubbed “U.K. chart darlings”—she should know, as she co-wrote lyrics for Sleep Well Beast.
Watch “I’ll Still Destroy You” in the player below, and find a The National session from the Paste Cloud further down. You can stream Sleep Well Beast here, and revisit the band’s “Day I Die” video here.