The National singer Matt Berninger is drinking less wine and smoking more marijuana before shows as the band tours behind this year’s “Sleep Well Beast.” “The weed allows me to just chill out and believe the song and listen to the song,” he says. “Weirdly, it makes me less paranoid.” We asked Berninger, above, to share three songs he plays backstage before gigs.
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‘’Cause Cheap Is How I Feel’ by Cowboy Junkies
“It’s a really beautiful song and I think there’s a part about a lie that’s about to be revealed. It felt really political to me,” Berninger says of the 1990 alt-country track. “I keep wanting to cover it, but we haven’t yet.”
‘Go West’ by Pet Shop Boys
This 1993 cover of a Village People song by the British synth-pop duo “is a song I play to get the band all excited and pumped up before a show,” he says. “That one is also for when I need to dig deep to muster some energy and some happiness.”
‘Tonight She Comes’ by The Cars
“I’ve been playing a lot of Cars,” Berninger says. “I think I love the super-clean precision, the surgical popness of those songs. There’s something benign but kinda creepy about The Cars at the same time. [Their songs] are just like pop diamonds.”