Matt Berninger Says That Swifties Are "Bewildered" by the National

Aaron Dessner's work with Taylor Swift has attracted a whole new audience of confused listeners

Photo: Matt Forsythe

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 2, 2024

Aaron Dessner's collaboration with Taylor Swift has opened up his band to a whole new audience of fans — some of whom are a little "bewildered" when they discover what the National actually sound like, according to singer Matt Berninger.

"We see a lot of Taylor Swift fans coming to shows and being bewildered by the first 25 minutes or so," Berninger told NME. "We've been blessed with demographics that are across the spectrum. Then, 10 or 15 years ago, a lot of younger people started coming [to our shows] — more and more women. The first 10 years was kind of a dude-fest at most of our shows, but that's changed a lot. At our shows we have all kinds of old friends and they're always different."

But even if the Swifties are a bit confused by the National's music, Begninger is still grateful for the exposure. He said, "It is fun — that whole bridge has been a really, really fruitful thing for our whole band."

He added, "Aaron's been having such a great time and making so much great stuff with her" — although, based on our 4/10 review of Swift's The Tortured Poets Department, it might be more fun for Dessner to make than it is for the rest of us to listen to. At the very least, Swift's collaboration with Dessner is aging better than her work with Jack Antonoff.

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