🎵 High Violet (The National)

Listened The National’s ‘High Violet’ Turns 10 from Stereogum

High Violet is also arguably the last time the National significantly transformed between albums. This is not to disparage what came later: Trouble Will Find Me refined formulas put forth here, while Sleep Well Beast started to blur the edges of their music with slight electronic experimentation. But whether in our growing familiarity with the band, or in the way that bands establish patterns as they solidify their strengths, much of the National’s output over the ’10s was, always, recognizably the National. Much of that is rooted in the turning point of High Violet, the moment when the National took what they’d built on Alligator and Boxer and widened the scope into a grand, literary, moody, sardonic brand of arena rock for a disenchanted generation.

I loved High Violet. It was when I truly discovered The National. Reading this review, I wonder if I too was caught at a particular point in my life.

Berninger had become a father, and while he didn’t want to dwell on it, you can feel a different level of existential concern creeping into the apocalyptic mood of “Afraid Of Everyone.” Elsewhere, he still had plenty of gripping depictions of vanishing youth and the weight of our decisions (or lack thereof) — the suggested distance between us in “England,” the louche getaway fantasy of “Lemonworld.”

Having had our first child, I remember walking hours listening to this album. It is one of those albums where different moments will prize free and life you feeling.

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