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The National Is Releasing Its 6-Hour-Long ‘A Lot of Sorrow’


The National’s setlist

Remember about The National’s performance at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2013? They repeatedly played the same song (‘Sorrow’) over and over for six hours…. What. a. bore. No, this is not even close to what they think, since they want to release the damn thing!

‘A Lot of Sorrow’ will come as nine (yes nine) clear vinyl records, covering their entire set, and the collection will be sold on June 22nd, for the modest price of $150… That’s probably the highest price anyone will ever pay for a single song.

Even the press release was pedantic:

‘By stretching a single pop song into a day-long tour de force the artist continues his explorations into the potential of repetitive performance to produce sculptural presence within sound. As in all of Kjartansson’s performances [the Icelandic artist who collaborated with them], the idea behind ‘A Lot of Sorrow’ is devoid of irony, yet full of humor and emotion. It is another quest to find the comic in the tragic and vice versa.’

So how many times did they play the song?… it is 3:25 minute-long, so they played it 105 times, and if you buy this thing, you will have plenty of time to compare the subtle variations they did inject in the song if any. Plus it is not a very captivating song to begin with, it’s monochord and a bit flat, so there can be many fluctuations. Let’s reinvent Sorrow? I don’t think so. I am curious to see how many people will buy this 9-record set to listen to the same song, I can be obsessed by the same album and have it in repeat but the same song?

At the end, I understand (barely) doing this as a performance in a museum, but recording the whole joke and selling it at this outrageous price? But wait…. it’s for a good cause, as the proceeds from the box set will be donated to Partners in Health, the nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to helping those in poverty. So they are okay I guess.

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