The National
High Violet


4.5
superb

Review

by rmill3r USER (26 Reviews)
October 3rd, 2010 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's solid and relatable, avoiding pretentious experimentation.

Mumbling guitars and ominous pianos introduce the world to The National's newest release High Violet, and listeners are gently lulled into a ballad, the main character: a glossy-eyed, modern man. The National brings this CD to the listeners as if it's a secret. They relate a message so earnest and forthcoming it feels as though it never should have been shared in the first place. Rest, recuperation, and stability are the subjects of The National's latest endeavor.

Matt Berninger's baritone voice is yet again the center of this band's metaphor-laden songs. He relates to the everyday man and sympathizes with his day-to-day plights. At times it may feel self-indulgent such as when Berninger harps, "I still owe money / to the money / to the money I owe," but the message becomes a testament to most common human beings in today's world. Especially with the economic fiasco in America today, the message is able to span across a large plane among the low, middle, and upper classes. With such mellow material, Berninger is also able to conjure up beautiful imagery. In their opening number "Terrible Love" Berninger sings, "It takes an ocean not to break" and "It's a terrible love / and I'm walking with spiders." The details are vivid. Also, in the strangely zombie-apocalypse-esque "Conversation 16" he talks about eating brains and there's some recurring imagery with Boxer's "Mistaken for Strangers" with the "silver city" and the overarching theme of estrangement.

Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Scott and Bryan Devendorf--the two pairs of brothers who make up the instrumentation of the band--parallel the lyrics well. In the same fashion, the music is simple, honest, and feels perfected. It's as if the band picked up their instruments, analyzed their lyrical themes, and solidified it into a poetic performance. From the piano interludes in songs like "Lemonworld" and the swells of strings in their closer "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," the music feels well-structured. Deliberate.

Some listeners may leave High Violet with an exhaustion only found in the most typical and cliche of indie-rock. But a careful listener will find that The National has taken them into the arms of all human beings, they've found a common ground, and they have given the average man a common theme to relate to. Berninger sings his secrets like he no longer wants them to be secrets anymore. The National has already laid a solid foundation with their previous albums Alligator and Boxer, but instead of experimenting and striving for lofty and pretentious heights, this band has continued to move upward and remain stable, building their musical repertoire one solidly candid performance after another.



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user ratings (1788)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Enotron
October 3rd 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

brilliant review, brilliant album

NeutralThunder12
October 3rd 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"It's solid and relatable, avoiding pretentious experimentation."

doesn't make sense, pretentious experimentation doesn't have anything to do with this album/band in any way. It's also saying that it's solid and relatable BECAUSE it avoids pretentious experimentation, which again, sounds retarded.

Oddly enough, the rest of the review was fantastic for a first. Have a pos dude

TheBloodTypo
October 3rd 2010


757 Comments


Great review. It really nails what I was thinking.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 3rd 2010


23964 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Still Album of the Year

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

Slum
October 3rd 2010


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Still need to hear this

Ire
October 3rd 2010


41820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this is really really good.

AnotherBrick
October 3rd 2010


9772 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

classic good

SoapySoap
October 3rd 2010


865 Comments


I've refused to to rate this until at least december to see if I feel any different about it, but I already feel like this is my AOTY.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 4th 2010


3776 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dunno why anyone negged this, but welcome and nice review.

DiceMan
October 4th 2010


7068 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Review is well done, ignore neutralblunder.

Album is almost definitely aoty

Jips
October 4th 2010


1136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the sold out crowd in indy on sat is proof your on to something with your review...

the national really have hit a note with the common man... the crowd was a lot more diverse than i thought it would be... middle age couples, hipsters and everyone in between were represented... was pretty cool

couldwinarabbit
October 4th 2010


6996 Comments


great album. Doesn't hold a candle to Boxer and Alligator though.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 4th 2010


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I really like this review. And for a first, I really, really like this review. Pos'd.

conradtao
Emeritus
October 4th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a great review, and a pretty amazing first. Pos'd.

rmill3r
October 4th 2010


167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you! But I'm new, so what's a pos?

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2010


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

As a first, this is pretty epic.

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

Motiv3
October 6th 2010


8939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Still Album of the Year

Phideaux
October 7th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent album. Review feels really focused and concise. Good work.

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Phideaux
October 7th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What? I don't remember rating this. Seems about right though, I guess.

Prolapse
October 7th 2010


4370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing album



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