Song of the Week: The National Pause the Doomscrolling with “Tropic Morning News”

Black Honey, Eloise, and Easy Star All-Stars also dropped essential tracks

the national tropic morning news
The National, photo by Josh Goleman

    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, The National help us cut through the noise with “Tropic Morning News.”

    January is unofficially a time to reset. Particularly in recent years, it’s become a month of new routines, setting intentions, and light reinvention — for better or for worse. While many of us are trying to embrace more healthful practices, some habits are harder to break than others: Rolling over, grabbing the phone off the bedside table, and beginning the obligatory morning doomscroll is the focus of “Tropic Morning News,” the new song from The National.

    Co-written by lead singer Matt Berninger and his wife, Carin Besser, the first single off The National’s forthcoming album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein (due April 28th), makes a plea for a pause, encouraging us to cut through the noise and embrace what’s happening right in front of us.


    The deceptively sunny title is matched with a deceptively upbeat sound, not quite as melancholy as some might expect from the band, but still heavy with the drama of modern man. It’s in the lyrics that Berninger makes the true mood clear: “The idea of referring to the darkness of the news in such a light way unlocked something in me,” he shared in a statement. “It became a song about having a hard time expressing yourself, and trying to connect with someone when the noise of the world is drowning out any potential for conversation.”

    Recorded partly in Hamburg and featuring light orchestral flourishes, the song chronicles and reflects the repetition we all seem to be living in day to day. It might have been easy to lean harder into the gloomy theme, but there’s still a hopeful thread running through “Tropic Morning News,” particularly before the last chorus arrives: “I’ll be over here lying near the ocean/ Making ocean sounds/ Let me know if you can come over and work the controls for a while.”


    While the star-studded track list of First Two Pages of Frankenstein promises songs with Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, and Sufjan Stevens, The National chose to lead with a track that cuts to the heart of this current moment and urges us to try to prioritize meaningful connection, too.

    — Mary Siroky
    Contributing Editor