The National frontman released the original version of the record – his debut solo release – in October 2020.
The additional tracks on the new version of ‘Serpentine Prison’ were previously only available on the limited-edition double vinyl issue of the album. Among them are two new original songs – ‘Let It Be’ and ‘The End’ – as well as four covers.
Those four songs include renditions of American soul singer Eddie Floyd’s ‘Big Bird’, alt-rock band Morphine’s ‘In Spite Of Me’, Louisiana soul star Bettye Swann’s ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye’, and The Velvet Underground’s ‘European Son’.
‘Serpentine Prison’ was produced by acclaimed Memphis multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones and was released on the producer and Berninger’s Book’s Records, a new imprint of Concord Records. Listen to the deluxe edition of the album above now.
In a four-star review of the original release, NME said: “If you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t put their records in alphabetical artist order, then ‘Serpentine Prison’ should be filed next to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ ‘The Boatman’s Call’ and Leonard Cohen’s ‘You Want It Darker’ as a lesson in stately, direct and personal songwriting prowess.”
In an interview with NME, Berninger also discussed how the album was initially envisaged as a covers record inspired by Willie Nelson’s 1978 collection of pop standards, ‘Stardust’.
“Some songs are un-coverable – but it’s fun to try and step into someone else’s shoes and melodies and that role of channelling yourself and them,” Berninger said. “When you cover a song, even one that you’ve listened to a million times, it’s a whole different thing to perform it and inhabit it.”