The National- "Afraid of Everyone"

The National

High Violet

4AD; 2010

"Afraid of Everyone" comes off of The National's latest LP, High Violet.  This track is the most unique and lyrically intense of all the material on High Violet. The wind instrumental and descending choral "ahhs" and "oohs"  weave into a simple four chord structure lead by Matt Berninger's baritone. Berninger mutters, "I'm afraid of everyone" in delusion and apprehension. The beat steadily crescendos accompanied with terrified and anxious guitar. The instrumentation is personified in such a way to emulate the lyrical emotion the track evokes. Berninger's use of color imagery not only is consistent with the album art, but is also suggestive of his paranoid distraction to modern day headlines. Defending his family with an "orange umbrella" gives the image of Berninger, with "[his] kid on [his] shoulders", fighting off the world. Within the context of the song, the paranoia is linked to his fear of news headlines and the psychological harm caused by tragedy, politics, and the general media. Berninger is just trying to protect the ones he holds close from the buzz of the world. "I don't have the drugs to sort it out" Berninger screams in top range. He is lost, confused, and trying to hold on what he knows is real. Even if that includes the personal infliction of drugs. What makes "Afraid of Everyone" a solid track is the extreme anxiety it causes to the listener. You feel as anxious as the guitar, as scared as the beat, and as paranoid as Berninger himself.