High Violet - The National
High Violet Image

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 215 Ratings

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  • Summary: The band and Peter Katis produced the Brooklyn-based rock quintet's fifth full-length album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. The National should give faith to anyone who has become disillusioned with indie music, anyone who misses a time where it didn't seem like all the musicians thought they were better than you and you could actually relate to the damn words they were singing. High Violet is another batch of cement to further supplement The National's already unshakable concrete career.
  2. The National have pulled off a neat trick here - an immediate, commercial album that grows with each listen. While High Violet is patently as good as its antecedents, it is also very much its own beast.
  3. An easy grandeur is present throughout, as is a sense they are following an increasingly individual, carefully textured path. It is a wild, vivid romance that The National make their own, and on High Violet it sounds just as striking, just as wild, just as vivid as ever.
  4. Though High Violet lacks the front-to-back consistency that made Boxer such an unmitigated revelation, the new album's peaks absolutely rival Boxer's best tracks.
  5. High Voilolet features 11 tracks; five are good, six extraordinary. [Jun 2010, p.116]
  6. Overall, High Violet feels more like a protecting-the-franchise record than a new phase in the National's sound. And yet, even so, a handful of its songs rank with the band's very best.
  7. Good, but I can't get behind the voice.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 62
  2. Negative: 2 out of 62
  1. May 21, 2011
    A beautifully crafted, artistic, understated album. The National claim that they sometimes can change around a song up to 50 times, such is their desire to perfect the music they make. It definitely shows on this album with subtle instrumentation blending together to form gorgeous melodies in which Mr Berningers haunting baritone vocals accompany. A small minority of people claim this album has been falsely hyped by hipster mags and music elitists but don't believe it for a second. This is often the problem when an album understates itself the way this does, people are too quick to toss it a side. Expand
  2. Dec 29, 2010
    I tried to listen to more music this year and get back into the groove of finding good music out there. I tried. I really did. Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Beach House, The Drums. All these critic darlings that do absolutely nothing for me. I like melody. Even as monotone as the vocals of The National can be, the music and production are too elegant to ignore and actually fit well with the vocals.

    From the opening note to the final ambient fade, High Violet takes what was special about The Boxer and takes The National to a level no one came close to in 2010. It simply is the finest collection of compositions recorded in a long time. My personal favorite is "Bloodbuzz Ohio" because of the gorgeous acoustics and charming piano against the powerful drumbeat, all covered in Matt Berninger's haunting baritone vocals. They just don't music like this often enough. Then again, if they did, The National wouldn't seem as special.
  3. Jan 26, 2012
    This album is flawless. Every track plays like a dark hymn for a frightened generation of lovesick vagabonds. The National are one of the best groups around, and this is their best album in my opinion. Expand
  4. Oct 10, 2010
    I'm glad that several of us here have taken it upon themselves to blow the whistle on the National so assuredly. Thanks, guys! You've changed my mind completely! But look: this album will not be a disappointment to anybody who likes the National sound. Is it a perfect album? No. Like many albums this year, it may suffer for being too uniform, a perfectly executed, single note. Lyrically, Berninger throws a lot more haymakers here and not all of them land on target. The album's striking production and melancholy ambience will be exhilerating to many on first listens but can feel claustrophobic quickly. As well: this isn't a sound made to be played live, though the National are heroes for what they are able to do with it. This is my favourite album of the year, though. If you like your eggs a bit more scrambled or a bit less cooked, go somewhere else and listen to the Black Keys or LCD Soundsystem or whatever it is you're so sure is better. No other band this year brought a distinct, slowly building sound to its logical conclusion better than the National. There isn't another album like High Violet. Remember: your favourite band can be summed up in a word or two as well. Expand
  5. Mar 18, 2011
    High Violet is one of a kind. Matt Berninger sings all of his emotions. He feels sorrow, he feels pain, he felt heartbroken. His vocals are amazing. The lyrics are really well and the musicianship is fantastic. The drumming is another thing. Some of the best drumming I've heard in awhile. All In All, The National are definitely a band to be reckoned with. A- Expand
  6. j30
    Jan 26, 2012
    A solid output from The National. In some ways it's more consistent than it's predecessor (The Boxer) mainly in it's sound which is a bit lighter. However I miss the atmosphere of dark, almost bleak atmosphere of Boxer. Expand
  7. Mar 16, 2011
    Overrated indie band. Obscure music for sad emo hipsters does not make for good music. The music is mediocre. The hype for this band is awful and pushed by cooler than thou hipsters all over the place. Expand

See all 62 User Reviews

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