Recorded during the Trouble Will Find Me sessions, “Sunshine On My Back” is available with a purchase of the National’s 2015 documentary Mistaken for Strangers (out via VHX). While “Sunshine” in no way strays from the band’s tried-and-true formula, it reminds me that they are one of the few bands currently making music in this vein, and certainly the best. It ultimately comes down to Matt Berninger’s ability to rip open fresh and old scars alike with the affirming sadness of his lyrics:
Sunshine on my back is the only kind I like
Sunshine in my brain is the lonely kind of pain
It’s the sunshine of a lonely mind
Sharon Van Etten adds backing vocals, providing the sunshine Berninger seeks, and also adding a crucial layer to offset Berninger’s rumbling baritone. However calm and steady their sound may feel after all these years, “Sunshine” shows us that Berninger and the National are as restless as ever.