• Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: May 11, 2010
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 274 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 274

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  1. 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.
  2. MartinT
    Jun 9, 2010
    10
    Perfect album. Brilliant for breaking up to. Or buying for a new friend.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. KeithS
    May 19, 2010
    10
    Rich, dark, sombre and beautiful. Brilliant.
  6. 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.
  7. AlejandroG
    May 25, 2010
    10
    Great!
  8. 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.
  9. VitoV.
    May 16, 2010
    10
    3rd masterpiece in a row.
  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. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. M.Sonders
    Jun 15, 2010
    10
    Upon first listens youll love songs like anyones ghost, bloodbuzz ohio, afraid of everyone, but with repeated listens you get sucked into every other song making first listen forgettables the most deep and moving songs on the record!!(see terrible love, little faith, conversation 16).. PLUS i just saw them at bonnaroo and it was F*CKING UNREAL!!!
  16. FabianoS.
    May 14, 2010
    10
    Brilliant! The best album of the year.
  17. FrankB.
    May 16, 2010
    10
    As usual, The National burrows in and reaches places in the consciousness that are rarely reached. Give it some time and wait for the reward!
  18. MikeA.
    May 17, 2010
    10
    Yeah, so it occupies the same space as Boxer, but when it's executed so well, who cares?
  19. 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.
  20. Aug 11, 2010
    10
    The National have already put together quite the catalogue of fantastic albums, but High Violet is their best yet. It takes the band's generally melancholic sound into even darker territory, making it more powerful than Boxer or even the more energetic Alligator. Songs like "Afraid of Everyone," "Bloodbuzz Ohio," and "Conversation 16" are potent enough to grip you after only one or twoThe National have already put together quite the catalogue of fantastic albums, but High Violet is their best yet. It takes the band's generally melancholic sound into even darker territory, making it more powerful than Boxer or even the more energetic Alligator. Songs like "Afraid of Everyone," "Bloodbuzz Ohio," and "Conversation 16" are potent enough to grip you after only one or two listens, but the subtler moments prove equally compelling over time. This album has more goosebump-inducing moments than its predecessors, and if you give it the attention it deserves, High Violet will work its way in and haunt you relentlessly. Easily one of the yearâ Expand
  21. Jul 25, 2011
    10
    A quantum leap from Boxer and Alligator, and the best record of 2010 -- a year with a lot of great records. It's hard for me to understand the reviews trashing this but touting Boxer. Boxer was a nice record, but this is miles ahead of it. Check out the 4 new songs on the "expanded edition." Wake Up Your Saints and You Were a Kindness, in particular, are both brilliant.
  22. Dec 29, 2010
    10
    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 wellI 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.
    Expand
  23. Nov 21, 2010
    10
    I downloaded this album back in june, and promptly put it on my ipod. Until about a week ago i had completely forgotten about it, and had never listened to it all. So about a week ago, i was at work listening to my ipod on shuffle, and the song "little faith" came on. I didnt even know who i was listening to, but i loved it! Since then i've been listening to this album non-stop.
  24. Sep 20, 2010
    10
    The National just keep getting better and better. They haven't put a foot wrong in the whole album. Every song is just perfect. A must listen for everyone.
  25. Sep 30, 2010
    10
    To call this album haunting seems to be an understatement - this album gets better, and darker, with each listen. The best new album I've heard in a while..
  26. Oct 20, 2010
    10
    Hands down the best album of the year! Hauntingly beautiful. It transcends most rock albums of our day. For those that call it overrated,flat ,mumblecore (nonsense) or whatever. Please shake your head, put on the headphones, crank it up and hit repeat.
  27. Nov 5, 2010
    10
    There seems to be an aversion to effort in modern indie-rock, an attitude about making music which usually garners critical acclaim. There is a time and a place for careless low-fi recording, sloppy composition, and inadvertent performance. But earnestness in indie-rock also ought to be celebrated, especially when the result is something as beautifully subtle and complex as "HighThere seems to be an aversion to effort in modern indie-rock, an attitude about making music which usually garners critical acclaim. There is a time and a place for careless low-fi recording, sloppy composition, and inadvertent performance. But earnestness in indie-rock also ought to be celebrated, especially when the result is something as beautifully subtle and complex as "High Violet." The lush sonic landscapes constructed by the brothers Dressner brilliantly balance sheer loveliness and Matt Berninger's eloquent melancholy. An argument can be made for the genius of their entire catalogue as a band, but this record is a rare achievement. Expand
  28. Nov 29, 2010
    10
    album of the year - no one even came close. sure it's sad, but it's funny too. matt berninger's lyrics just keep getting better. this album may take some getting used to and isn't appropriate for party situations, BUT for anyone who understands that this life is bittersweet (fans of "no country for old men" as an example) "high violet" is essential.
  29. Feb 1, 2011
    10
    Inspiring song consistency, and filled with great emotion...all through the use of hushed vocals and instrumentation. The content is so dense it took me a few listens to gain a full appreciation of the work put into this brilliant album.
  30. May 28, 2017
    10
    They just keep on putting out music with an extravagant and incredible quality.
    What more can be said, beautiful from head to toe. You get submerged in every song, deeply and it's fabulous.
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.