Skip to main content

Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison: Five Essential...

Frightened Rabbit (courtesy of the artist, PR)

Frightened Rabbit (courtesy of the artist, PR)

by

Frightened Rabbit's frontman Scott Hutchison and his bandmates are longtime admirers of the The National, this week's FUV Essentials artist, and they even toured with the quintet in 2013. When time came for the Scottish band to record its tempestuous and tender fifth album, Painting of a Panic Attack, they reached out to the National's Aaron Dessner to produce and eventually traveled to upstate New York, hunkering down at Dreamland Studios.

The match of band and producer was inspired: Frightened Rabbit's latest release is a vivid and mesmerizing aural depiction of anxiety and heartbreak. It's a dramatic derecho of an album, delicately guided by Dessner.

Hutchison, who found life as a freshly-minted Los Angeles resident as isolating as it was galvanizing while writing the songs for Painting of a Panic Attack, has always found solace in the National's rich catalogue of songs. While he firmly believes that it's pretty impossible to pick a few favorites, Hutchison managed to pull together a very personal list of his Five Essential National Songs for FUV.

Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison: Five Essential National Songs:

"Fake Empire," from Boxer
It might seem like an obvious choice, but this song means a great deal to me, as it was the first song of theirs that I heard. I've been a constant listener since that day. I found them on MySpace after Stuart Murdoch mentioned The National in an interview. This is an example of a perfect song. Every detail is in exactly the right place and the piano sound is amongst the most beautiful I've heard on any piece of music. If you're not into this, please leave now.

"The Geese Of Beverly Road," from Alligator
This one took me a while. I find that this happens a lot with The National. Often the first couple of listens to a song or a new album don't quite do it for me, then after a few more listens I'm addicted. It's worth the work. This is one of a handful of songs that can make me cry. The tears start rolling in around "come be my waitress and serve me tonight..."

"Abel," from Alligator
With all the beauty and grandeur so often stealing the spotlight, it's easy to forget that The National are a damn good rock band. When Matt breaks into a snarl and those twins cut loose, it's exhilarating. Bryce and Aaron's interplay is one of the most vital and inimitable aspects of the band. It's probably not something you can learn. You have to have known each other since before you were born.

"Apartment Story," from Boxer
Choosing just five favourite songs by this band is a ridiculously difficult task, so I'm going with the ones I know I've listened to the most. The thing about The National is that there's never just one central lynchpin of a song, but a number of "tent poles" which hold up each album. I totally stole that line from Aaron, thanks man! These are songs that you can walk into and live inside. There's no better example of this than "Apartment Story."

"Slipped," from Trouble Will Find Me
The National are the perfect soundtrack to the end of a night. Sad and celebratory living on the same page. To me, this song encapsulates that feeling of "Awwww s**t... I did it again." It's a place I'm quite familiar with, unfortunately. In these moments, it's always good to have a companion in a great song. There are many great songs in The National's catalogue.

- Scott Hutchison
May 2016

Catch up on all of FUV's Five Essentials.

WATCH