• Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: May 11, 2010
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 238 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 238

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  1. May 21, 2011
    10
    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 thisA 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. Jul 10, 2011
    9
    Beautiful, very evocative of something sour and bitter without ever getting dull.
  3. JeffS
    Jun 8, 2010
    10
    This is a brilliant album that - pardon the cliche - just gets better with each listening. In its understatement, it becomes almost overwhelmingly power. It is honest, evocative and quite possibly the most haunting (and haunted) album I have ever heard.
  4. AdrianK
    May 20, 2010
    9
    The third great in album in a row. exceptional music carried by great vocals. Additionally this album grows with every listening.
  5. MartinT
    Jun 9, 2010
    10
    Perfect album. Brilliant for breaking up to. Or buying for a new friend.
  6. David
    May 15, 2010
    10
    Just beautiful music and what a great voice - bought the CD having heard only Runaway and no song disappoints. Too early to say what songs are stand outs - just listen to the entire album and savour a band totally in the zone.
  7. longtimereader
    May 17, 2010
    6
    This album is just OK. I know that the National makes growers (Alligator is a favorite of mine), but this one just comes off as too mopey. It seems like these guys are giving up on interesting melodies and giving into berringer and the drummer- i want a more balanced effort.
  8. MattG
    May 18, 2010
    10
    I wanted this album to be a 10, but on first listen I wasn't sure. Of course it was brilliant, but was it as good as Boxer? After 3 listens I can say it is every bit as good. The thing about a National album is that you know it's going to keep growing on you and you will never tire of it. Oh, there is so much to look forward to! Right now Conversation 16 is a standout, but I wanted this album to be a 10, but on first listen I wasn't sure. Of course it was brilliant, but was it as good as Boxer? After 3 listens I can say it is every bit as good. The thing about a National album is that you know it's going to keep growing on you and you will never tire of it. Oh, there is so much to look forward to! Right now Conversation 16 is a standout, but I'm sure many songs will become standouts over time. On a par with Arcade Fire as the best band in the world right now. Expand
  9. HappyEnchilada
    May 23, 2010
    10
    After the first couple listens I had this ranked behind Alligator and Boxer, but it's broken through to where I wouldn't argue with anyone calling it their best. Rather than rank it, though, I'm happier thinking of Alligator/Boxer/High Violet as equal components of a superb triple album. Highly recommended.
  10. kevino
    May 19, 2010
    10
    Slow burner. Not as instantly accessible as Boxer. But ultimately maybe more rewarding. England maybe their best song ever.
  11. JoshF
    May 26, 2010
    10
    This album is actually much better than it's getting credit for. Even though it's (as of right now) rated below Boxer, I think High Violet is better because of its darker and more cohesive mood. Every song on this album is strong, and they all get even better the more you listen and discover all of the fantastic subtleties. Easily one of the best albums of the year so far.
  12. Dunks
    Jun 1, 2010
    10
    The Delusions of Adequacy review says it all: "...remarkably rendered by a band that might just be the very best we have today." I totally agree with this statement. Absolutely amazingly talented band. I had been waiting for this album for quite a while but always knew that it was going to be a great album. Definitely my favourite band and i listen to a lot of different stuff.
  13. TomB
    May 18, 2010
    10
    Album of the year. Hands down. The term "masterpiece" is thrown around so often it loses its potency, but this is the first 10 out of 10 album I've heard in a long time. This is a masterpiece.
  14. billboard
    May 16, 2010
    7
    The vocals are still solid. the arrangements are decent. the drums are probably the most improved part of the band. however, its not as engrossing or touching as previous albums. basically, its no sad songs for dirty lovers, but itll do.
  15. IanP
    May 19, 2010
    4
    hands down the most overrated band around right now. these songs are flat. the only complexity is the atmospheric production, otherwise you could pretty much call this 'mumblecore the band'.
  16. Sep 1, 2010
    4
    It is incredibly dull. I bought it without thinking - partly based on the hype and partly based on some nostalgic memory of what a great song Fake Empire was and is. Unfortunately nothing here gets close and their performance at Glastonbury just confirmed that they have had their 15 minutes already.
  17. Oct 6, 2010
    0
    I didn't like Bauhaus the first time around...and at least they had a better drummer. Mumblecore? Yes, that's about right. If this is "the best we have today" then the bar has been lowered drastically.
  18. KeithS
    May 19, 2010
    10
    Rich, dark, sombre and beautiful. Brilliant.
  19. RobT
    May 23, 2010
    9
    The National's best album yet! Really enjoyable and it gets better with every listen.
  20. AlejandroG
    May 25, 2010
    10
    Great!
  21. CBE
    Jun 1, 2010
    10
    More of the same. But when 'same' is brilliant, who can argue? Not as immediate as Boxer but the subtlety pays off in the long run. Find myself humming these melodies on my walk home. Lemonworld is the revelation for me- perfect.
  22. Matt
    Jun 18, 2010
    8
    Good album, but not as good as Boxer or Alligator. I find this album not as edgy as the other ones.
  23. NickJ.
    May 16, 2010
    9
    More expansive, complex and consistently dark than Boxer. Only time will tell if it's as good.
  24. VitoV.
    May 16, 2010
    10
    3rd masterpiece in a row.
  25. Adamw
    May 19, 2010
    9
    Like all of their previous albums, this one gets better and better with each listen. it's a masterpiece except for the last song.
  26. BKKahn
    May 24, 2010
    9
    Without a doubt, the National's most beautiful album!
  27. Brock
    May 27, 2010
    10
    Simply the best album I've heard since The XX's debut. That was only a year ago but there has been a lot of albums since.
  28. JohnR
    Jun 13, 2010
    10
    Live with this album for a week or two and it'll be lodged in your brain from the moment you wake up. Far better than Boxer and maybe the equal of Alligator. If I had to single anyone out, it'd have to be the drummer but this is a band at the peak of its powers.
  29. FabianoS.
    May 14, 2010
    10
    Brilliant! The best album of the year.
  30. MatthewE.
    May 15, 2010
    8
    Somber and thoughtful yet simple, this is another great album from The National.
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Dec 20, 2010
    90
    The National's latest is easily up there with the very best indie-rock records of the year.
  2. Its charms are subtle, its grip soft and easily shrugged by those who choose to pay it only passing attention. Live with it a while, though, and High Violet rewards patience with songs that colour one's waking existence, becoming vivid night-time narratives when curtains are drawn.
  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.