YMMV / The National

  • Broken Base: The studio version of Graceless has divided the fan base between those who view it as a boring rendition of an excellent live tune, and those who view it as being just as effective on the album.
    • More infamously, the studio version of Terrible Love, which had distorted drums. Fans complained to the point where the band released an alternate version at the end of the year.
    • In regards to their discography, there exists a divide between fans regarding whether or not the band's decision to change to a slower, quiet, and denser sound, was a good thing or not.
  • Covered Up: Birdy's cover of Terrible Love gained significantly more traction than the original or alternate versions.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Basically everything. All of their albums have been critically acclaimed except for their first two, but even the second one was pretty close to universal acclaim on Metacritic.
    • "The Rains of Castamere" certainly count for Game of Thrones fans.
    • The instrumental arrangements are always incredible, especially on the later albums.
    • Their covers of two songs from Bob's Burgers have the band singing light-hearted lyrics about gravy boats and turkeys with the signature beauty of their normal output. It's as good as it sounds.
  • Dull Surprise: A criticism of their recorded material being Matt's dulled-down vocals compared to when he performs live. "Graceless" on Trouble Will Find Me is a particularly bad example; Matt lets loose and screams most of the lyrics live but rather boringly mutters them on the album itself.
  • Epic Riff: Basically every instrument in Fake Empire. From the piano to the horns.
    • The drummer even gets one in "Squalor Victoria" and "Brainy."
    • Also, the beginning of "Mistaken For Strangers".
  • Face of the Band - Subverted. Every one of the band members get just as much publicity as the rest.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: Contender with Arcade Fire for the most triumphant example of the last decade.
    • They nearly sell out the Barclays Center, play on pretty much every tv show in existence, GET A FEATURE IN THE NY TIMES MAGAZINE... and still they are quite possibly the most famous band that absolutely nobody has heard of.
  • Mostly Narmless: Matt's voice makes even the most ridiculous lyrics seem deep and serious, as seen here.
  • Signature Song: Either "Fake Empire" or "Bloodbuzz Ohio". However, fans could also make a strong for "Mr November" as being their defining song as well.
    • Portal 2 gives another song to the general masses, "Exile (Vilify)"