Don’t be [a] bitter Anna, I know how you think.

I’ve got another mini-post about The National’s High Violet in me, but it’s based on a lyric I can’t prove exists. The National doesn’t release their lyrics officially, so when you look up their lyrics online, you’re just getting the product of a fan listening closely.

The lyric, from “Little Faith,” as I hear it, goes, “Don’t be a Bitter Anna, I know how you think / You’re waiting for Radio City to sink.” And that got me off thinking how great an unexpected article can be: By adding the word/letter “a,” Berringer adds a cruel intimacy to the line. The speaker is close enough with Anna that he has a lightly coded expression for when she’s being needlessly bitter. And that it’s followed by “I know how you think” drives the point home. The speaker discards Anna’s feelings for their predictability. Another slight jab from a lyricist full of them.

Compare that line with the one the lyric websites report, “Don’t be bitter, Anna,” which is fine, functional, but just isn’t doing the same work.

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