The National - Alligator
Critic Score
Based on 12 reviews
2005 Ratings: #76 / 455
User Score
Based on 373 ratings
2005 Ratings: #34
Liked by 9 people
April 12, 2005 / Release Date
LP / Format
Beggars Banquet / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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There is nothing pretentious about the way Alligator reveals itself, nothing overbearing or confusing; it just slides by, always laughably good.


It is Berninger’s fragile ego and his luxuriant words which dominate, though.

Coke Machine Glow

The National make music that is the sound of hanging out for too long in too many bars in Brooklyn, drinking and talking about all the bands that every really Mattered and trying to figure out how to place themselves in the discussion. 


The National may sound like a garage band turned down, but there's as much primal energy lurking behind Alligator as in any mop-topped group of city kids with bloodstained Danelectros in a dusty warehouse.


Massed vocals and backing harmonies are two of the few things the National have added to their sound since their last album, and though Alligator is satisfying and engaging, it's not quite as bracing as their stellar sophomore outing, 2003's Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers


Musically, there’s a mix and match approach to much of Alligator that works quite well. The band excels at establishing a mood and then playing within the dynamics of the song to keep things constantly moving and fresh.

Rolling Stone

He spends the rest of this NYC band's third album rummaging among churning grooves and shambling New Wave rips, turning up depressed guitar poetry that's both elegantly wasted and kinda murky.


The material is repellant not because it presents an unsettling glimpse of life but because it is so clumsily and arrogantly executed.

An entirely flawless album to me. I found this album at the perfect time and it shaped my musical taste for years after.
The first great The National album although it is as streamlined and focused as their future releases and doesn't fully stand out as much as Boxer but on the that note i do feel this album does get overshadowed by Boxer and it is a shame because it is stilla great indie rock album.

Track Review

Secret Meeting 9/10
Karen 8/10
Lit Up 8.5/10
Looking For Astronauts 8/10
Daughters of the Soho Riots 8/10
Baby, We'll Be Fine 9/10
Friend of Mine 8.5/10
Val Jester 7.5/10
All the Wine 8.5/10
Abel ... read more
Jumping ahead a couple albums, Alligator serves as a consistent introduction to what The National will inevitably sound like for the duration of the next decade and a half. The baritone vocals and dreary mood-setting are all here, so if you're familiar with The National's sound then Alligator is sure to suit your expectations well.

What is notably different is a relatively different approach to instrumentation than you might hear on a later National release. Although still quite full, the ... read more
Lovely and surprisingly funny album. The playful lyrics here really make it great to me.
As good as I think this is, I have some mixed feelings on this album. On one hand, I feel like Alligator is inferior to it's predecessor, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, mainly because that album was overall a much more fun listening experience. However, I also feel like this album is overall a better album musically. Everything on here from the instrumentals to the lyrics are much better than anything on The National's previous projects. Because of this, I decided to give this a higher score than ... read more
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Year End Lists


Track List

  1. Secret Meeting 
  2. Karen 
  3. Lit Up 
  4. Looking For Astronauts 
  5. Daughters of the Soho Riots 
  6. Baby, We'll Be Fine 
  7. Friend of Mine 
  8. Val Jester 
  9. All the Wine 
  10. Abel 
  11. The Geese of Beverly Road
  12. City Middle 
  13. Mr. November

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