"High Violet" by The National

The National
High Violet

4AD
2010

Review

...not that it'll cheer you up any. But misery loves company and company means a party and what's a party without a soundtrack? This one is for fans of that sweet sadness (or even just existing fans of The National) twist of sour lime in their Rock music.

In many ways listening to this and enjoying it is to say that you are in a quiet and reflective if not downright depressed mood. This is in no means a knock on the music itself (which at it's best is a character study in the beauty of the sad part of human emotion and at it's worst too sad to be all that interesting). It is just to say that you really have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy this.

The high points of High Violet are simply astounding. "Anyone's Ghost" is a brilliant, brilliant song that I qualified previously as having a haunting melody and haunting lyrics. Lyrics including:

You said I came close
As anyone has come
To live underwater
For more than a month
You said it was not inside my heart, it was
You said it should tear a kid apart, it does

Similarly, "Afraid of Anyone" is a song that exemplifies the general tone of the album (read: "I'm sad"). I was a bit over-dramatic in describing it in my "Streaming Dat" segment, but yeah, the sentiment remains; this is the theme song to your bottom (with lyrics like I don't have the drugs to sort it out, you can't help but think of someone hitting rock bottom...or then again, maybe I've just been watching too much of the Wire lately).

My favorite song on the album remains "Conversation 16". I said that it was a beautiful song that I couldn't help but love more on subsequent listens, and that indeed has been the case.

On the downside, there are quite a few songs that are downers without being all that involving. But look, this album is $6 from the Amazon MP3 store and it is a solid if not brilliant album that for fans of this sort of downer Rock should love. So if that's you, then just go get it while it's on the cheap.

3.818 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Terrible Love (04:39) 3
2. Sorrow (03:25) 4
3. Anyone's Ghost (02:54) 5
4. Little Faith (04:36)Highviolet 4
5. Afraid of Everyone (04:19) 5
6. Bloodbuzz Ohio (04:35) 3
7. Lemonworld (03:23) 4
8. Runaway (05:33) 3
9. Conversation 16 (04:18) 5
10. England (05:40) 3
11. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (04:12) 3
12. Terrible Love (alternate version) (04:18)
13. Wake Up Your Saints (04:13)
14. You Were a Kindness (04:25)
15. Walk Off (02:40)
16. Sin-Eaters (03:39)
17. Bloodbuzz Ohio (live) (03:53)
18. Anyone's Ghost (live) (02:57)
19. England (live) (05:26)