Alligator

Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 100
    "Alligator" is easily the National's best effort and quite possibly one of this year's finest records.
  2. Uncut
    100
    It's their first masterpiece. [Album of the Month, May 2005, p.94]
  3. 100
    It is the sound of Interpol as reinterpreted by Tom Waits--a breathtaking album with bite.
  4. The National are able to pack as much power into the songs on Alligator as any of the more heralded indie-rock bands working right now, only The National have taken the common influences and grafted them into something altogether fresh and remarkable.
  5. Entertainment Weekly
    91
    The twilit melodies and Matt Berninger's gossamer vocals will haunt your troubled dreams. [22 Apr 2005, p.64]
  6. Filter
    91
    Berninger sounds smart and witty; but above all else, he sounds like he really went for it this time. [#15, p.105]
  7. Mojo
    90
    Walks the same Cold War-era Bowery streets as Interpol but is not more than a half step away from lysergic brilliance. [May 2005, p.108]
  8. The National seems to have settled into a fine balance between the hungover brooding of Leonard Cohen and the more mellifluous tendencies of Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen.
  9. Tonally and lyrically somewhere between L. Cohen, Aidan Moffett and David Berman, Berringer's cynical, world-worn love-letters and resigned croon work perfectly with the band's rock steady rhythm-section.
  10. While Sad Songs was immediately arresting, able to knock the wind clean from those who found it, Alligator conjures the same black magic on a broader scale, readying itself to be known beyond those small circles.
  11. [A] fine collection of city-weary poetry.
  12. Q Magazine
    80
    Like R.E.M. when they were good, [The National's] superficially simple songs have a real depth and resonance. [May 2005, p.114]
  13. Part of the problem with Alligator is that it echoes so many other records, but part of its satisfaction is that it sets itself apart so well.
  14. The rest of the band plays straight man, setting up Berninger's punchlines and peeling him off the floor at the end of the night.
  15. Painstakingly crafted, casually baroque music for people who get off a little bit on feeling blue.
  16. Massed vocals and backing harmonies are two of the few things the National have added to their sound since their last album, and though Alligator is satisfying and engaging, it's not quite as bracing as their stellar sophomore outing, 2003's Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers.
  17. Alternative Press
    70
    Packed with timeless rock songs. [May 2005, p.174]
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 127 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
  1. Mar 5, 2012
    10
    Abel, Lit Up, Secret Meeting, Mr November.... All magical. Every track on here is a National classic. Their breakthrough record and their bestAbel, Lit Up, Secret Meeting, Mr November.... All magical. Every track on here is a National classic. Their breakthrough record and their best work in my humble opinion. One of the records of the 00's. The moods of the songs swerve between a New York night out and the hangover that follows. If you've not gotten into this band yet your missing out big time. Give this a few listens and you'll be hooked on them. I remember hearing Mr November played live in Dublin a while back and it was mind blowing. Full Review »
  2. DavidR.
    Mar 29, 2008
    10
    A lot appears to have been made about this guys lyrics, with one review dedicated entirely to ripping them for being cold and dispassionate. A lot appears to have been made about this guys lyrics, with one review dedicated entirely to ripping them for being cold and dispassionate. Talk to any creative person and they will tell you art normally flows from sadness and misery. These songs are not uplifting nor are they meant to be. The album is great because it's a perfect expression of someone who admits to his patchy failures, marginal successes, and ultimately the women whom he has used to get through life. Most of the songs sound like they are written on a hungover a few days after breaking up his girlfriend. The songs are deceptively straightforward and beautifully layered, and his lyrics are thought provoking and emotionally delivered. This album truly deserves a 10 and is their best. Full Review »
  3. toms
    Apr 15, 2005
    10
    my favorite record of the year so far.