Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#23 Album Of 2010: High Violet - The National

High Violet

The National
4AD Records.

Original SCQ Review

My friend recently told me I was being too hard on High Violet, and he has a point. On a song-by-song basis, High Violet lives up to every other National record worth mentioning, not to mention, for god’s sake, it received the third-highest SCQ Rating of all 2010 releases! So where did I turn the critical corner on the National, outside of course from the hype machine of bloggers and fanboys who deemed High Violet the greatest album ever/flavour of the month?

At the time of review, I believed these songs were beginning to interact, grouping into a greater musical conversation that the best albums do instinctively. That never really happened in the end, making my ecstatic review a week or two premature, but I hardly regret it. High Violet, for my money, remains as powerful a listening experience as Boxer was, substituting that 2007 effort’s skeletal boasting for orchestral advocacy. Songs like ‘Sorrow’ and ‘Conversation 19’ remain every bit as biting and moody, with expert rhythms and confounding, write-on-the-wall lyrics. Their words just don't say anything greater when lumped together.

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