The National - High Violet
Critic Score
Based on 30 reviews
2010 Ratings: #12 / 842
Year End Rank: #4
User Score
Based on 483 ratings
2010 Ratings: #7
May 10, 2010 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Label
The National / Producer
Indie Rock / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
A.V. Club

High Violet is carefully considered without being labored, richly detailed without being fussy.

100
Sputnikmusic

There isn't a bad song on the album, and generally when people say things like that they seem to imply that there are still a few duds here and there. But High Violet is literally free of weak moments.

100
The Skinny
The bold grandeur and breathtaking finesse of The National's current form is unmistakable.
90
Drowned in Sound

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.

90
Tiny Mix Tapes

High Violet isn’t simply The National’s best album; it’s already one of the strongest album of this young decade and will likely continue to be, even in another nine years from now.

90
musicOMH

If all of the band’s records had a loose thematic core running through to them, High Violet is the band’s most grown up record – mirroring the now late-30something group’s outlook on life.

90
No Ripcord

The National’s latest is easily up there with the very best indie-rock records of the year.

90
Consequence of Sound

They’ve taken some minor risks, tailored their sound, and emerged with a record that can stand confidently beside Boxer and Alligator, all without overdoing or losing any of its predecessors’ merits.

90
Slant Magazine

There’s a wry beauty in subtle morbidity, and the National has struck it on High Violet.

90
The 405

With High Violet they are not just playing on the tension like Boxer but taking that idea and building on it, and thats the thing with The National. They build, they build honestly and meaningfully, they build a place inside your heart. Each album sits like a footprint in the snow.

90
Loud and Quiet

This band has a peerless ability to make music which seeps into your consciousness, slowly ferments and finally produces a musical wine of such intoxicating majesty you’re left dumbstruck.

90
Billboard

"High Violet" synthesizes the best parts of the National's past into a fantastic present.

90
Prefix

High Violet is one of those rare albums where a band’s rising profile and rising talent meet in a perfect storm of anticipation and excellence.

88
Pretty Much Amazing

Everyone keeps saying that this is a sad album. It’s not. It’s an honest album, a real album. And it’s breathtaking.

87
Pitchfork

High Violet is the sound of a band taking a mandate to be a meaningful rock band seriously, and they play the part so fully that, to some, it may be off-putting.

85
Coke Machine Glow

A massive, dynamic album that still makes good on the National’s devotion to meticulous production and a sound they’ve kept simple and distinctive for a decade.

83
Entertainment Weekly

Their fifth album High Violet is slow to blossom; its sumptuous layers and stately pace can feel almost funereal, and frontman Matt Berninger often sounds badly in need of Paxil. But Violet eventually burrows in, and stays.

81
Paste

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.

80
PopMatters

High Violet summons up perfectly and terribly the sneaking suspicion you start getting in your 20s that possibilities are closing off, that your life might not turn out the way you wanted it to, and that there’s probably no-one else to blame but yourself.

80
NME

Darker and more introspectively brooding than ever, in places it’s the most immediate National effort since their overlooked eponymous debut.

80
Spin

Simmering more than it strikes, High Violet coaxes you into baroque indie darkness rather than shines bright pop lights.

80
The Guardian

Crafted from humming guitars, tinkling pianos, militaristic drumming and occasional orchestration, their fifth album is beautifully subtle and grows in power with each listen.

80
NOW Magazine

Building on 2007's Boxer, High Violet should keep the melancholic band's aging indie fans crying into the future.

80
Spectrum Culture

There is unarguably a gravity to both Berninger’s voice and the band’s musical sensibilities that carry the album. It’s this combination that makes these songs so visceral and emotionally impacting.

78
Beats Per Minute

Should I be so surprised that High Violet ... represents their most, self-serious, dour and morose release yet? 

70
AllMusic

Muscular, miserable, mighty, and meandering, High Violet aims for the seats, but only hits about half of them.

70
Under The Radar

High Violet is a fine album, a very, very solid effort that contains some marvelous storytelling and near perfect execution. There are no faults to speak of. But that electricity, that fly by the seat of your pants thrill is something that eludes The National.

70
Rolling Stone

Singer Matt Berninger's gorgeous baritone is still the band's main selling point ... Yet the tension comes mainly from composers Aaron and Bryce Dessner: The music is some of their lushest and darkest.

60
Clash

Despite a sincere lack of happy hardcore bangers or light-relief comedy skits, ‘High Violet’ is a tight, no-nonsense follow-up to 2007’s critically acclaimed ‘Boxer’.

60
The Needle Drop

The National's latest is loaded with lush production and somber vocals, but the album may be a little too melancholy for its own good.

chessmess
85
So far, the best record The National has put out. Full of emotion and hard-hitting instrumentation. You cannot go wrong with this one.

Favorite track: None, they are all good
choice_kingdom
99
An astonishing achievement, a storm of greatness and superb musical artistry. This record should be at least tried by everyone that enjoys music in general. At first, High Violet seems to make a very small but nonetheless good impression. Its sound will rest at the back of your soul waiting eagerly to be heard once again until you can't get enough of it and, by then, you'll have High Violet carved in you. It definitely is a grower ( same goes with The National ). All songs feel like they could ... read more
MySoftBulletin
60
I feel as if I have always had a gripe with The National in that I enjoy the music in terms of the composition and technical aspects, there is no doubting their talent there, but they just feel so bleak and lifeless as a band There is not much emotional sentiment behind their music, and that is keeping me from being a fan. I do admit, however, that this is a very impressive piece of music (hence the reason for the high score). I just wish I could connect with their music, but that moment has ... read more
89
This has got to be one of the best indie rock albums of the decade so far -- pretty much flawless the entire way through.
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