High Violet (studio album) by The National
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Condition: Very Good
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Condition: Very Good
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The National bestography
High Violet is ranked as the best album by The National.
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High Violet track list
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High Violet ratings
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This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 81.6/100, a mean average of 80.0/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 81.7/100. The standard deviation for this album is 16.5.
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Mkre restrained than Boxer but I think it's for the best. Feels like it's less grand, more mature.
A consistently great listen with every track having some form of quality too it. The dark and depressing atmosphere they create on here is simply amazing. The music has so much depth and is so full of layers that it seems like a mess when you first hear it but after revisiting it a few times I started to unravel the music a bit more and I was amazed by the beauty I found. The peak of this for me is Runaway which is one of my favourite ever songs by the National. They utilise such a diverse array of instrumentation on here as well which leads to the sound possessing a grand and important feel to it that I love. Every single instrument intelligently adds to the soundscape as well which results in this phenomenal concoction that is so pleasing to my ears. Vocally, it is very strong and the lyrics are interesting and fun to explore. Overall, this is the National's most consistent release and I absolutely love the style they explore on this record as they do it in such a brilliant way which makes for an elite level album.
The album that proved that The National were still going to have importance in a new decade and so it has proved. High Violet shows that a new direction of introspection and different instrumentation allows the band to connect with our emotions once more.
Album Rating: 88.09
1.Terrible Love. 89
3.Anyone's Ghost. 86
4.Little Faith. 85
5.Afraid Of Everyone. 96
6.Bloodbuzz Ohio. 85
9.Conversation 16. 95
11.Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks. 97
Depressive without being depressing. If you’re going to make a record that plumbs the depths of human emotion you still need to make music.
This album is touching and beautiful. Think of it as the younger cousin to Automatic For The People.
Muy buen disco de música independiente
Levei um tapão pela qualidade... Que álbum!!
'High Violet' represents the artistic zenith for The National, an indie act bathed in the streets of New York City but with homeland hearts rooted in woebegone Cincinnati, Ohio. It's a quintet made up of two sets of brothers, the Dessners and the Devendorfs, who routinely cook up emotional setpieces that only those bounded by blood could conjure. Still, the spiritual core of The National resides with Matt Berninger, the band's crooning, unclad, undiluted frontman determined to forever expose his soul on stage. Berninger is the antithesis to the prototypical visage of a rock figurehead. He refuses pontification, confronts his weaknesses and flaunts fallibility as the new gospel. There is something genuine about Berninger's approach to music that serves as a rising tide to those with delicate hearts and conflicted minds. The National used to address their dissatisfaction with the pounding of a gavel, with early tracks such as 'Available' and 'Mr. November' serving as rallying cries for the double-crossed and those who feel that their glory days are behind them. On their fifth album, they scale back the heavy artillery and emerge with an exercise in surgical melancholy, with whispers that obliterate the silent air.
The album begins with the apropos, 'Terrible Love', a document of a relationship on its way to disaster. It's a scenario that Berninger is clearly familiar with and it's a fragile union bound together by alcohol, sleeping pills and bits of string. "And I can't fall asleep without a little help; It takes a while to settle down my shivered bones until the panic's out," Berninger laments. Maybe he finds solace in carrying on, riding a freight train to anguish if only to know he's stuck it out and not thrown in the towel. It takes a special kind of pride to willingly fall on the sword and both parties are willing to do so, even if it means confronting the specter of failure once again. Sonic standouts here emanate from the progressively distorting guitar work from the Dessner brothers and the powering percussion of Bryan Devendorf. 'Terrible Love' epitomizes the championing of imperfect relationships amongst imperfect beings. Second track, 'Sorrow', occupies a far more straight-forward thematic headspace. The band played the song for six hours straight at the MoMA PS1 as part of a collaboration with Ragnar Kjartansson aptly titled, 'A Lot of Sorrow'. Berninger's poetry is in top form on the cut, with an assist from Aaron Dessner. Berninger testifies, "I live in a city sorrow built; It's in my honey, it's in my milk." Anyone can write a song about a former flame, but to describe the inner workings of one's plight with such malaise, with the presence of profound wounds paved beneath a concrete shell of numbness is certainly no easy feat. Gentle keyboard flourishes usher the song out to a chorus of angelic coos communicating the saintly nature of quiet suffering.
Fourth track, 'Little Faith', is the only track on the LP to feature a writing credit from Carin Besser, Matt's wife. With the compositional brain trust swelling to three, the prose undergoes a cinematic makeup, straying away from the hyper-introspectiveness of early tracks. "You'll find commiseration in everyone's eyes; The storm will suck the pretty girls into the sky," Berninger howls. This is the first of 'High Violet's' tracks to craft an image of a tangible, sensory experience rather than a prolonged sense of yearning. 'Little Faith' buzzes in a fashion similar to that of an AM radio coupled with sopping bass plucks that arrive in lock-step with Berninger's bellows. Strings anchor the track and prevent it from flying away with the twinkling guitar arpeggio that introduces itself during the second half. 'Little Faith remains on of the LP's unsung heroes. On the other hand, 'Afraid of Everyone' often stares down the barrel of consistent praise for its brilliance and its star-studded feature. Sufjan Stevens provides harmonium and offers backing vocals. Stevens also composed the vocal arrangements for the track, which becomes more apparent when you listen to the cascading voices falling over each other like rolling waves. 'Afraid of Everyone' is certainly one of the LP's more graceful excursions, something that could be seen as a harbinger for Stevens' 'Carrie and Lowell' in 2015. The context of the song deals with aversion to social interaction and the struggles of managing anxiety. Consequently, the narrator must navigate the rough seas to provide emotional stability to his young family as he rapidly and consciously ages. It's a banner moment for sure. However, the emotional heart and soul of all things 'High Violet' resides squarely within 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'. The record's sixth and most sensational track, is a ode to copious amounts of debt, the sentimental nature of one's hometown and a stirring promise of a comeback story yet to be written. If one examines closely between the lines, there's a sense that this comeback will never come to fruition. It's more of a portrait of a character on an endless losing streak with hope being the only thing driving him forward. He's a slave to his patterns, his habits, and his demons. His ambition has been chiseled away by disappointment, his potential, squandered by alcohol and his treasured and downtrodden home state, both a sanctuary and a prison. As Berninger puts it, "Ohio is in his blood." 'Bloodbuzz' is the most poetic statement on 'High Violet' and it's also a wolf in sheep's clothing. It harbors the album's most infectious, progressive momentum while staying unflinchingly defeatist, forever resigned to lose. The track is a proper masterpiece and one of the grandest statements of the 2010's. "I still owe money to the money to the money I owe; I never thought about love when I thought about home," Berninger admits.
The album recedes back into itself with 'Lemonworld', and the band evidently reembraces reservation after the emotional exertion of 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'. The seventh track concerns escape from the urban jungle of New York City and all of its obligations and burdens. The subject dreams of a lavish desertion, adorned with idyllic summer afternoons highlighted by pairs of alluring women. Eighth track, 'Runaway', elongates the solemnity of 'Lemonworld'. The track itself is a tributary branching off from the record's pension for promoting the acceptance of subpar situations. 'Conversation 16's' instrumentation swirls around Berninger's baritone serenades like a warm breeze. The drum kit finds itself ushered forward in the mix, acting as the catalyst for the track's success. Another song concerning rupturing foundations, this 'Conversation' concerns a married couple carrying on the facade of stability. The record finishes with 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks', a track that features backing vocals from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. The track serves as a mournful sendoff for an LP drenched in emotional heft. It passes on a message that we are all susceptible to love's cruel nature and it's this pain that unites us, certainly a lesson the band's fanbase can revel in.
The National continued to elevate their indelible status in the coming years with critical successes at every turn, yet, none of them feel as essential or as crucial to the band's identity as 'High Violet'. It's 11 tracks of unabashed turmoil paired with the courage to parade it with unlimited vulnerability. Some would argue that the strength of music is grounded in the sense of catharsis that it can inspire, but 'High Violet' doesn't repurpose that pain, it merely acts as a conduit between beating hearts. The album classifies fallibility as a redeeming quality and helps us understand why we hurt but not necessarily how to heal. After all, to completely recover from our intangible scars would be distinctly inhuman. It's true that we find a picturesque beauty in incalculable jubilee, but sorrow is a phenomenal, soulful achievement in its own right. 'High Violet' lets us know that it's okay to cherish it.
"I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees."
1. Bloodbuzz Ohio
3. Afraid of Everyone
Musical mush. One of the worst production jobs I have ever heard. Lyrics mostly forgettable.
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