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Watch: In 'Day I Die,' 5,000 Photos Depict A Night In The Life Of The National

The National is about to release its seventh album, Sleep Well Beast, which deepens and evolves the band's gloomily propulsive sound while digging deeper into the worried mind of singer Matt Berninger. Until today, three songs from the record had seeped out in the lead-up to release day — "The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness," "Carin at the Liquor Store" and "Guilty Party" — and now "Day I Die" joins them, accompanied by an innovative new video from director Casey Reas.

"Day I Die" beautifully captures The National's gift for sounding both reflective and soaring, and Reas' video reflects its tone using more than 5,000 photographs — arrayed to form a time-lapse vision of a night in the life of the Ohio-bred band as it rehearses and performs onstage.

Sleep Well Beast comes out Sept. 8 via 4AD. On Sept. 5, NPR Music and WXPN's World Cafe will present a First Listen Live stream, in which The National performs the album in its entirety.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)