Album: Alligator (2005)
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  • This song finds Matt Berninger pursuing a relationship to escape his own lack of direction. He warns his paramour:

    "Whatever you do, listen
    You better wait for me
    No, I wouldn't go out alone into America."

    Berninger is married to Carin Besser, a former fiction editor for The New Yorker, who has often contributed to the band's songwriting and backup vocals. Berninger told Coup de Main magazine: "'Karen' is very much about my wife, whose name is 'Carin' - I protected her innocence by changing it to Karen."
  • Other The National songs that Carin shows up in include:

    "City Middle" ("Karen, take me to the nearest famous city middle. where they hang the lights").

    "Looking for Astronauts" ("You know you have a permanent piece of my medium-sized American heart").

    "Conversation 16" ("I tell you miserable things after you are asleep").

    "I Need My Girl" ("In a week we'll be together. Try to call you when I'm landed. I need my girl").


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