Song of the Week – The National “Afraid of Everyone” and a response “Whisper to the Ground”

This week’s song once again comes from The National, as I work my way backwards through their albums in anticipation of a release of a new album later this year. One can hope. This song feels very poignant to me, a song about media, alienation, and fear. Increasingly, feelings that grow inside my own soul, soul, soul, soul…. As the song reaches its passionate climax and Matt falls into a trance singing soul over and over again, it reaches inside me. See you next week.

I Whisper to the Ground

My son on my shoulders, I walk
Through the crowd at the carnival
I lift him wishing he could lift me
So we could ascend under Mary’s umbrella
When the winds shift from left to right
Together jump into a chalk paint dream
I will defend my family from the venom
I will defend my family from the hurt
I will defend my family from the drugs
Needed to sort through this red and blue
Mess. We will purple them together,
A much happier color for the new shoes
I walk in with my son on shoulders.

I whisper to the ground:

I, too, am afraid of everyone.

I, too, feel them swallowing my soul.

by Berninger, A. Dessner
[Verse 1]
Venom radio and
Venom television
I’m afraid of everyone
I’m afraid of everyone
Lay the young blue bodies
With the old red bodies
I’m afraid of everyone
I’m afraid of everyone

[Hook]
With my kid on my shoulders I try
Not to hurt anybody I like
But I don’t have the drugs to sort
I don’t have the drugs to sort it out
Sort it out

[Verse 2]
I defend my family
With my orange umbrella
I’m afraid of everyone
I’m afraid of everyone
With my shining new star
Spangled tennis shoes on
I’m afraid of everyone
I’m afraid of everyone

[Hook]
With my kid on my shoulders I try
Not to hurt anybody I like
But I don’t have the drugs to sort
I don’t have the drugs to sort it out
Sort it out
I don’t have the drugs to sort
I don’t have the drugs to sort it out
Sort it out

[Outro]
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul

Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul, soul
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul, soul
Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul

8 thoughts on “Song of the Week – The National “Afraid of Everyone” and a response “Whisper to the Ground”

  1. Emily says:

    Oh my god! He’s playing my instrument, the harmonium! I’m so blown away, I’ve never seen anyone other than me use it for something other than traditional kirtan! I’m speechless. Awesome song…I may have to try to record it on my harmonium. And wonderful response you wrote as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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