By Kevin Rutherford
It’s been said that The National is one of the elite purveyors of dad rock. So if that’s the case, what do you call it when the frontman of such a band writes a song for a children’s album?
Walter Martin, a multi-instrumentalist whose usual job is with The Walkmen when the indie rock act isn’t on “extreme hiatus” as it reportedly is now, is creating a record for kids entitled We’re All Young Together — and one of the featured artists is National singer Matt Berninger, NME reports.
Berninger’s contribution surfaced on Soundcloud today. “We Like the Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too)” features Berninger’s usual baritone going down a list of animals he happens to not be (“Now I’m not covered with fur / no, and I don’t stink / and I don’t breathe underwater / ’cause the good lord knows I’d sink”).
But he sings that it doesn’t matter when it comes to whether you like the zoo — because when he sees the animals at the zoo, “I recognize something that’s inside of me.”
The track is replete with plenty of animal noises, from chirps to roars, along with a jangly guitar line and an easygoing drum beat.
According to NME, Martin said the song “is my tribute to the lost art of the novelty song. Songs like ‘Poison Ivy’ and ‘Yakety Yak’ — all those Leiber and Stoller masterpieces — are a big part of my life. I didn’t want to put my name on an album that didn’t have room for that kind of song.”
The album also features Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O, who contributes her vocal to “Sing to Me.”
We’re All Young Together is out May 13.