“Tropic Morning News” by The National

Aaron Dessner described Matt Berninger’s composition of “Tropic Morning News” as being reminiscent of the works of Bob Dylan. This is undoubtedly a pretty powerful statement considering how abstract Dylan can be. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The National's Tropic Morning News at Lyrics.org.

We won’t go as far ourselves as concluding that “Tropic Morning News” is anywhere nearly as complicated as the types of lyrics that Bob has written. But it can be ascertained that there’s a lot going on in this song. The song is so deep that listeners have to delve underneath the lines to grasp all that’s being put forth.

The addressee is obviously someone the vocalist has a very-close relationship with, akin to a significant other or bestie. And the way the narrative commences is by depicting this person as someone who is unintentionally unfavorable, i.e. the type who is rude in conversation without really realizing it. 

Chorus of “Tropic Morning News”

The chorus goes on to imply that initially, the vocalist was compelled to hold his tongue on such matters. But now, he’s “saying all the painful parts out loud”. That would apparently include the narrator acknowledging his own similar faults in this relationship.

That’s to say that in the second verse, he recounts an episode where he lost control of his tongue and subsequently ended up offending the addressee. But whereas the vocalist may be recognizing that incident, he doesn’t particularly sound apologetic. He rather comes off as someone who’s having a hard time relaying a full, heartfelt apology. It can be taken, as in the bridge for instance, that he’d rather just forget about all these transgressions rather than harping on them.

The National, "Tropic Morning News" Lyrics

But the post-chorus indicates that it’s not that simple. Here, it is brought to light that what we’re actually dealing with, as deduced by the vocalist, is the case of two close friends or perhaps even lovers having grown apart. 

So it can be taken that the sentiment behind the chorus is along the lines of the singer trying to come up with an excuse to keep this relationship going. 

And in that regard he does cite “the tropic morning news” as having seemingly negatively affected him, if nothing else at least being a distraction. But now, the vocalist is no longer under its influence and is freer to mend his association with the addressee, or something like that.

A Song inspired by Depression

According to Dessner’s description of this song, it is somehow supposed to also be related to a serious bout of depression Berninger was going through at the time. But by the time all is said and done, what it more basically reads like is the vocalist being in a relationship he wishes to perpetuate. He knows the union is a troubled one and him seemingly understanding that it may have run its course. Despite this, he doesn’t it to die.

Facts for “Tropic Morning News”

“Tropic Morning News” was officially made available to listeners on January 18 of 2023. It is the first official single from “First Two Pages of Frankenstein”.

FYI, “First Two Pages of Frankenstein” is the ninth studio album of US rock ensemble The National.


This was partly written by the group’s frontman Matt Berninger. He shares the writing credits with his wife Carin Besser and fellow band mate Aaron Dessner.

The production of “Tropic Morning News” was achieved via a collective effort of the group.  


“First Two Pages of Frankenstein” follows the group’s 2019 studio album “I Am Easy to Find”. It features collaborations with various artists. For instance, the track “The Alcott” includes vocals from Taylor Swift.  Another collaborative song on the album is “Once Upon a Poolside”. The collaborative effort in question features Sufjan Stevens of “Fourth of July” fame.

Tropic Morning News

1 Response

  1. bea kiddo says:

    As someone who has ADHD, the lyrics mirror my daily interactions with people, and how I generally feel. I’m constantly apologizing for not being able to correctly articulate what I’m saying/feeling, not being able to gather words at all to speak, the endless distraction of not just the world, but also my own thoughts, and how my executive dysfunction sometimes makes it impossible to do anything… and add in the depression and low self-esteem to make it all complete.

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