High Violet - The National
High Violet Image

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

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Universal acclaim- based on 230 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. Apr 21, 2011
    Matt Berninger's delightfully melancholy voice goes perfectly with the moody and gorgeous songs on this album. Although it seems to lack the cohesive force that "Boxer" had, the album is exceptional when each song is taken into consideration. The sounds are apocalyptic, gloomy, and creative. An exceptional work from an exceptional band. Expand
  3. FrankB.
    May 16, 2010
    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!
  4. TomB
    May 18, 2010
    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. Expand
  5. NickJ.
    May 16, 2010
    More expansive, complex and consistently dark than Boxer. Only time will tell if it's as good.
  6. 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
  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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