Friday, 23 November 2012

Music: High Violet by The National

High Violet is an album you’ll still be coming back to years down the line...

High Violet by The National. It may take a few listens
before you appreciate its true musical quality.
The National are one of those bands who are very successful, critically acclaimed and have a passionate and dedicated following, and yet there still seems to be a large number of people who haven’t yet heard of them.

That’s possibly because High Violet is by no means a collection of radio friendly mainstream chart songs.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an album of exceptionally brilliant music, but you may find like I did that it takes a few listens before you start to appreciate the true depth of musical quality contained on High Violet. 

I personally found that the opening track Terrible Love and also Little Faith were songs which became favourites fairly quickly, but it took a few more listens before the genius of the rest of the album emerged.

Once this album 'clicks' though, the strength of High Violet hits you from start to finish.  Sometimes when marketing executives are trying to decide which tracks to release as singles their job is fairly straight-forward, but with High Violet you could ask ten different people to select their first choice for a single and get ten different answers.

AmpliTube iRig - Mobile Guitar Interface for iPhone/iPad

The National have consistently become stronger and stronger with every album and High Violet continues that trend.  Whereas with previous albums such as Boxer and Alligator there were generally a few tracks which stood out above the rest, with the case of High Violet the level of excellence is pretty much consistent throughout.

Lyrics aren’t usually something which make much of an impression with me but High Violet breaks that trend and I have to admit that I love the unique quirky personality of some of the lyrics on this album.  One of my personal favourite lyrics is the line, ‘I was afraid that I’d eat your brains’ from Conversation 16, with ‘I still owe money, to the money, to the money I owe,’ from Bloodbuzz Ohio also being another cool line to sing along to.  Some of the lyrics might seem a bit strange when written down but when you sing along to the music they seem to catch the vibe of the songs perfectly.

SMS Audio STREET by 50 EarbudsHigh Violet is the sort of album that on completion leaves you with a lingering feeling of melancholy, but at times it can also be upliftingly beautiful, Runaway and England being perfect examples of this.  It can also be a very emotionally powerful album, with the track England again being an ideal illustration, starting peacefully and then building in intensity as the song progresses.  Afraid Of Everyone is another example of a song which builds up to a triumphant crescendo.  The musical genius of The National means that both England and Afraid Of Everyone come across as if they’ve just flowed out naturally in a one-off moment of spontaneity, whereas in actual fact The National have probably spent many days and even weeks perfecting the sound until every note is precisely crafted to produce the exact desired emotionally filled musical effect.

To sum High Violet up, this is far from being a collection of catchy upbeat pop music but once you break through the unwelcoming outer layer you discover an album filled with memorable and deep songs, and an album which you’ll still be coming back to years down the line. With High Violet, The National have produced a classic collection of quality anthems which will leave you with a feeling of inner reflective calmness and a subtle smile on your face, and an album which should be an essential ingredient of any music collection.

Highlights: Bloodbuzz Ohio, Runaway, England … closely followed by Terrible Love, Little Faith, Lemonworld, Conversation 16 and in fact pretty much the whole album.

Download High Violet by The National on iTunes:

You can stay up-to-date on all the latest tour and album news for The National at their official website:
The National's Official Website 

Follow The National on twitter:

Worthy Of A Bigger Audience is also on twitter: 

Please note, all promotional images used on this blog remain the copyright of the respective publishers and are used in accordance with 'Fair Use' legislation for review purposes.

Rara Media Group Limited

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