Tuesday, April 27, 2010

High Violet, The National

BEST OF 2010

It was odd of me to expect The National could create an album better than Boxer. But, the preview reviews for High Violet all called it grander and more beautiful. I was willing to believe these idealized statements of an album that had probably only been listened to a couple times before a review was set down to paper.

High Violet rests between Boxer and Alligator. The music seems closer to Alligator, but the lyrics closer to Boxer. I feel Boxer may have been more about relationships as they take place. High Violet seems to be about the aftermath of relationships. There is a great deal of sadness, loss, and pain to the lyrics and music. Lead singer, Matt Berninger, has a voice that really stabs. I feel it wouldn't matter what he was singing about with a voice like his.

In the case of The National, I don't have to worry about just loving the voice and the sound scape. The lyrics are strong. In "Afraid of Everyone," they sing 'i don't have the drugs to sort it out.' This is seconds after talking about walking around with his kid on his shoulder. It is easy to assume he means recreational drugs, but I think he is speaking about the way so many people rely on prescription drugs to cope with life. It isn't a judgement, just an observation. Comical and sad.

"Conversation 16" is the one song I love the most. It reminds me so much of Boxer. As if it is a B-side from that album. And when they sing 'i'm afraid i'd eat your brains because i'm evil' I feel as though they are responding to a Lady Gaga song. The way Gaga sings about men eating her heart and their wolf like evil eyes. This group is admitting their ability to destroy. Clever.


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