Boxer

Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. To be succinct and frank, Boxer is superb. Not only did The National create a startling, astonishing work of genius but they also crafted an album that is one beautiful piece of art.
  2. The National were worried that they wouldn't be able to follow up Alligator, that fans would be disappointed. Boxer proves their fears ungrounded - and that Alligator was no one classic wonder.
  3. Boxer is a National album through and through but blessed with a restraint and self-assuredness of a band on top of its game, resulting in a startling masterpiece on par with Turn on the Bright Lights, Bows & Arrows, or any other austere tribute to urban alienation you care to name.
  4. To those with time for only a passing glance, it could conceivably come across as dull, but a close look at monumental songs like "Start A War" and the scathingly sad, funny "Slow Show" will reveal bleak, black diamonds—precious, glimmering, and lasting.
  5. Boxer works best as a mood piece; it's also the first National release to work as a whole, and it's the best album I've heard so far this year.
  6. With The Boxer, The National has not only crafted a contender for Album of the Year.
  7. 90
    While Boxer lacks a knockout punch like last album’s 13th round uppercut “Mr. November,” all scorecards still have the National besting David Berman to remain indie rock’s “Great White Mope.”
  8. It is the subtle orchestral aspect to the record that stands out, with the same washed arrangements that Grizzly Bear and close cohorts Clogs manage to incorporate so casually.
  9. A huge improvement over Alligator, and likely to launch the band into a new phase.
  10. If Alligator was The National's first masterpiece then Boxer is surely their second, a 12-song journey that thoroughly exemplifies everything that a modern rock band should be capable of.
  11. This album, like all great albums, somehow transcends all the factors that makes it work, absorbs them in a seamless whole and breaks your heart in the process.
  12. Like a perfectly attired woman, the National are fleetingly alluring, never gaudy, subtly enchanting.
  13. Like those on their last album, these songs reveal themselves gradually but surely, building to the inevitable moment when they hit you in the gut. It's the rare album that gives back whatever you put into it.
  14. If there is one thing that might be wrong with this album -- besides an uneventful last third -- is that the album might be too tailor-made for music critics worn out by music fatigue, hype fatigue, and irony fatigue.
  15. Boxer is another accomplishment for The National; more understated than Alligator, yet just as alluring, and right on target.
  16. It gathers momentum slowly, making for a brew so quietly potent and pulsating with repressed energy you're almost afraid to leave the room while it's playing in case it explodes messily all over the walls.
  17. Alternative Press
    80
    Sometimes, the hype is right. [Jul 2007, p.170]
  18. Spin
    80
    High drama of the blunt, uncliched sort unheard since the Afghan Whigs' '90s heyday. [Jun 2007, p.94]
  19. Uncut
    80
    The core of the album lies in a cluster of gorgeously restrained, piercingly evocative pieces built mostly from acoustic instruments. [Jun 2007, p.94]
  20. Mojo
    80
    After a few spins its beautifully arranged songs get scratched into your soul. [Jun 2007, p.100]
  21. Billboard
    80
    Matt Berninger's murmuring, stream-of-conscious narratives are delivered with convincing melodrama, with few clunkers. [26 May 2007]
  22. Rolling Stone
    80
    The songs are subtler, statelier, with Matt Berninger's baritone exuding lonesome warmth. [31 May 2007, p.93]
  23. As focused as it is ambitious, Boxeris riveting.
  24. Their exploration of the genre's boundaries is so lithe and confident, and their studied aloofness here so convincing, that the familiarity comes across as authenticity and the restless impulse for expansion feels, at times, transcendent.
  25. The National hews too closely to established formula on "Boxer," content to revisit previously explored territory without expanding its sound.
  26. Under The Radar
    70
    The record is slightly less New Wave-y than its predecessor with many of the tracks taking on a more organic polish. [#17, p.86]
  27. There are verbal nuggets throughout the album... but it’s not the antihero sentiments that make the songs memorable; it’s the methodical yet obsessive patterns that frame them.
  28. A set of heartbreak hymns to sob come curfew time.
  29. Here, most gestures remain a bit too consciously panoramic—elegant enough for comfort but often not chancy enough to be breathtaking.
  30. In the absence of specific moments of revelation, the general melancholy becomes wearing.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 294 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 140
  1. JonB.
    Jun 23, 2008
    10
    Yes, I like this album even more than Radiohead's Rainbows. Best album of the year.
  2. Jul 3, 2011
    9
    just amazing. best album of them.
  3. WookieC
    Jul 27, 2007
    10
    It seemed that after Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers and Alligator they couldn't get any better. They could.