"The National’s dirty secret is that for all of the Dessner brothers’ orchestral ambitions, these songs are simple things: Instantly memorable melodies and minimal chord progressions become familiar after one listen, and then there’s a pivot, usually undetectable the first time around, that takes the National towards one of their proprietary grand finales. The greatness lies in when the listener connects the two and realizes they’re part of the same song."
"When I first met Roger in the late 1970s, he invited me out for drinks. “Don’t even try to keep up,” he warned me. I tried and my head still hurts thinking about it. You couldn’t keep up with Roger, whether it was drinking or moviegoing. Roger joined AA in 1979, but movies remained his lifelong addiction.
A Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down from Ebert meant something in Hollywood. People listened to him. No ivory tower for Ebert; he sat in the balcony like the rest of us. His writing was plain-spoken and often blunt. Smart audiences looked beyond his thumbs and found a reviewer ready to argue his points with cogency and humor. It’s no accident that Roger became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize."