Boy, it's been a while, huh?
Queried Album: The National - Alligator
Gracenote Genre: Sadcore
Wikipedia Genre: Indie rock
My Genre: Alternative rock, low rock, post-punk
Fuck. Fuck. Fucking shit.
I actually had to leave this post for about half an hour to calm down. I'm still not entirely clear what 'sadcore' exactly is, but I'm quite sure of two things: (1) it should never be used by anyone in any kind of professional capacity, and (2) it should never be used in reference to good music. 'Sadcore' is the kind of word that, in my ideal world, should only be used as a punchline or to describe incredibly shitty bands who only have a MySpace and a YouTube channel to communicate their ideas. Their terrible ideas.
You can therefore guess at my distress of The National being described with such a term, as The National are one of the more beloved bands of my generation. They've achieved critical success in both the mainstream (New York Times) and vaguely-indie (Pitchfork) review circuits. They have that vaguely post-punk-baritone-monotone sound for the vocals, and they have an absolutely kickass drummer who managed to single-handedly make Boxer one of my favorite albums from the 00's.
I don't even know what sadcore is meant to describe in a serious manner. I always assumed it was a joke term used at the expense of new goth/emo bands who lack talent/ability/pop-sensibilities. Clearly, that's not the case. Regardless, I don't see The National as particularly depressing, nor do I see 'sadcore' as particularly descriptive. Therefore, I dismiss it and go to Wikipedia.
Unfortunately, Wikipedia has resorted to the generic 'indie-rock' label. I've discussed my misgivings with that one before, so I'll cut this short and toss on the arguably-equally dubious title of 'alternative' and be done with it.