Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

Album: High Violet (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Richie Reed Parry played guitar and standup bass on this track, whilst Justin Vernon from Bon Iver supplied harmonies. Vernon paid tribute to the band in an interview with The Guardian: "There was such a friendliness to them, a spirit that was way above any ego or mitigating vibe. There is a precision about their music that reaches places that only the National can scratch. High Violet is just making their arms longer."
  • The song title is typical of the made-up names the National give to many of their songs. Frontman Matt Berninger told The Quietus: "Inventing, yeah. Like 'Squalor Victoria' – there's something in that word that sounds like something because every time you actually try to use real words to describe it, it doesn't sound like the thing you're talking about anyway. This character, Vanderlyle Crybaby – I can't tell you how long it took me to come up with the word 'Vanderlyle.' There's the Nirvana song, 'Pennyroyal Tea' – just the word 'pennyroyal' I loved, it sounded so great and it's just the name of a tea. I couldn't use that – maybe I should have, that would have saved some time – and so I started looking at the rhythm of the word, and the cadence. I probably have a book of a hundred different three syllable things."
  • Berninger explained to The Quietus why he added the word "geeks" to the title: "Well it was always in the song, but the truth is, the reason I added it to the title was because a lot of people thought that I was saying 'geese' – people thought it was a reference to 'The Geese Of Beverly Road,' that the geese were back! In some ways that could have been cool, but that's not what it is. There was a time when we were mixing it where I kind of slur those lyrics a bit, and it sounds like I'm saying 'geese'. I asked Peter if I could re-record that one word, and he said no, it sounded fine, and it'd sound weird if there was suddenly this really pronounced 'GEEKS!' So I asked him to turn up the 'K' sound, just ride it up."

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