The National
High Violet


4.5
superb

Review

by c0ffee USER (5 Reviews)
March 26th, 2012 | 71 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist


If you can’t actually hear High Violet now, wait a year and re-listen. This is about more than a sound. This is an album that lumps together with your life and becomes braided with your daily events. Once you relate, you’ll feel it.

I jump back and forth frequently between this and Boxer...between moods, between days, but that’s part of what makes The National so arresting: the ability to sync with emotion. I’ll call High Violet a grower, one that can creep up on almost anyone. At first, the sounds were almost generic, like a dull-normal collision of instruments and voice--uninteresting and lazy. I went in, though, without any real expectations or attractions. It was one of those superficial listening sessions where the television was part of the track. No expectations. Then something happened. Conversation 16 began narrating my daily life: from the “***ty thoughts I think” to “living off coffee and flowers,” to being a “confident liar,” to telling “miserable things after you are asleep.” It seemed Matt Berninger was sitting at my kitchen bar droning off about my life, not trying to depress me but to validate it all. Once I actually began listening for the meaning of the words, I started unraveling the emotion of the songs. I found out why the songs seemed boring. They needed animation and life from the listener. They thrive off of that connection.

This can grow on anyone, so I slowly (and unintentionally) introduced this album to my friend via car rides back and forth between our apartments. During one of those seven-minute midnight trips, filtering through the annoyingly inefficient stoplight patterns of downtown, I recall him unknowingly chanting, “I was afraid...I’d eat your brains...” A phrase that initially seemed silly, but grew to mean so much. Maybe it just hit me hard at that moment, where I was stuck in a rut, taking the same daily routes to do the same routines, noticing how much I rub off on those around me. High Violet is filled with those lines that really grip your being, and make your arm-hairs raise when you really tether down. It’s an album of life, and life is dark, confusing, yet still inspiring. What once sounded colorless and lazy now feels lush. The baritone vocals swell with dense imagery and mix with warbly, sometimes ghostly guitar lines. The singing has a certain tinge of nervousness in the delivery. The songs are brightened up in parts with horns, strings, or piano that overlay a plodding, pulsing percussion. Everything sounds lived-in and worn, but so new.

For me, High Violet wasn’t something that I found while similar-genre hunting. It’s hard to express really. I’m not drawn to this solely because of sound that my ears register as “good.” High Violet narrates life. That’s what’s heard--the drab similarities between the songs and life of the everyday man. Bring your sorrow with you, and enjoy the sorrow that is High Violet. Bring your happiness, and be humbled.


user ratings (1772)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Funeralopolis
March 26th 2012


11548 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

review is inadequate all you are saying is that you like it and relate to it because of the lyrics. Lyrics aren't everything, tell us why you relate to it deeper than just the words.

Digging: Quicksand - Slip

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2012


50500 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Music is not a book

Funeralopolis
March 26th 2012


11548 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^lol

jdennis31
March 26th 2012


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i agree with ya'll except in the case of frank turner. i was never into his music or even vocal melodies until i read his lyrics

chambered69
March 26th 2012


1253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best natl by far

johnnyblaze
March 26th 2012


2615 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yup^

TooLateToGoBack
March 26th 2012


1774 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Definitely the best National album.

Conversation 16 is such a brilliant song.

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
March 26th 2012


1477 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fourth best National.

But fuck yea Conversation 16 is AWEsome.

jdennis31
March 26th 2012


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i haven't dug too far into the other albums, alligator needs a few more listens so i can bump up my score, but if high violet is really the fourth best album i need to get my ass on the other ones

jdennis31
March 26th 2012


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bloodbuzz ohio is like one of my favorite songs ever. anything else by them that has a similar drive?

Funeralopolis
March 26th 2012


11548 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yea this isn't even close to Alligator

NeutralThunder12
March 26th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

boxer and alligator are better yeah

NeutralThunder12
March 26th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@jdennis bloodbuzz is one of their more open, catchy songs so try

All the Wine
Mistaken for Strangers
Available
Lit Up

jdennis31
March 26th 2012


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool thank you neutral, will check those out now. rated alligator and high violet after two listens and then continued to check out high violet. took me a bit but finally fell in love with high violet so need to check out alligator again for sure

NeutralThunder12
March 26th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it takes 50x longer to fall in love with boxer because it's slower and more subdued, but its their best album and my favorite ever

jdennis31
March 26th 2012


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ahh, i was told high violet is usually the one that national noobs fall in love with first. i love the slower songs on high violet as well. runaway is an amazing song. well pretty much all of them are haha

NeutralThunder12
March 26th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well they all rule hard except for like 3, but boxer is perfect and classy all the way through. if u like the way the band does slower songs, listen to slow show, favorite song of all time or one of them

NeutralThunder12
March 26th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and yeah when i saw them live they opened with runaway and it was

a
m
a
z
i
n
g


jdennis31
March 26th 2012


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

man, that was amazing. i didn't understand why everyone liked the drummer so much but i'm beginning to understand. guy is so amazing at taking a softer slower song like slow show and giving it energy and drive without taking over. think thats the my favorite instrumentation for a 'the national' song so far, thanks man. actually bout to check out boxer right now

jdennis31
March 26th 2012


6511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

tbh i'm probably gonna listen to slow show a couple times first....



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