Rylan by The National comes off of their 2019 album I Am Easy To Find. The song is about an introverted teenage man named Rylan. His struggles to fulfill his parents’ hopes that he comes out of his shell “Rylan, did you break your mother’s heart?/Every time you tried to play your part” Rylan’s feeling of isolation becomes so dark that the singer makes an allusion to suicide, “Rylan, we can take the quick way out/You can turn blank-white in a blank-white house.” The narrator uses an ABAB rhyming scheme in the first stanza “Rylan, you should try to get some sun/You remind me of everyone/Rylan, did you break your mother’s heart?/Every time you tried to play your part,” and illustrates the low esteem that Rylan is developing.
“Change your mind and nothing changes.” In the choruses, the narrator advises Rylan to change his pessimestic attitude and to start approaching people. He must develop his social skills and learn to cope with rejection, just like everybody else. With the repetition of the first line, it creates a sense of urgency as if Rylan is running out of time to try to adjust his introvert habits, “Rylan, you should try to get some sun. / You remind me of everyone. / Rylan, you should try to get some sun. /A little bit of heaven in everyone”. It is amazing how Matt Berninger can see through certain characters and explain them in these very poetic and sympathetic ways. Through quick lines and often rhyming The National is able to tell the story and explain the feelings of a hypothetical but realistic teenager.
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I love this song, and I think Matt Berninger’s voice encapsulates the mood and tone of the song as well. I like your comment about how the repetition creates a sense of urgency.