By The National
I don’t often write about albums, simply because I am by no means a musician. I love music, and I think that my taste is (for the most part) pretty decent, but I’m not nearly the historian of popular music that I am for television or film. That being said, I might very well listen to music more than I watch films. (Hell, all of us in the iPod generation probably do.) So, sometimes when I hear an album that blows me away, I need to write about it. “High Violet” by The National is one such album.
A few years ago, I was looking at the “top albums of the year” lists around December, trying to find some new music that might be worth listening to. “Boxer” by a band called The National appeared on a lot of these lists so I decided to give it a listen. It seemed decent enough, but nothing really grabbed me right away so it sort of just got lost in my ever-expanding iTunes library. Flash forward to about a week ago and Craig Ferguson’s musical guest is The National. Since the name sounded familiar, I decided not to turn the channel and give them a listen. They played “Anyone’s Ghost” from their new album and it made quite the impression on me. So I checked out this new album and found it to be stellar. So much so that I went back and listened to “Boxer” once again and then found the rest of their catalogue and listened to all of that as well. Long story short, I’m now pretty fluent in The National and they are a fantastic band. I’ve read them described as Bruce Springsteen meets Joy Division and that sounds about right to me. They’re sort of artsy and somewhat pretentious sounding (Joy Division) but at the same time find a way to relate to the common man and have captivating hooks (The Boss). They also sort of remind me of Interpol, if Interpol were slightly more talented. (And this is coming from a man who loves Interpol.)
Regardless, “High Violet” is likely my favourite album of The National’s. It has fantastic song after fantastic song, including: Terrible Love, Anyone’s Ghost, Bloodbuzz Ohio, Runaway, Conversation 16, and Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks. That’s 6 songs. That means that more than HALF of this album is awesome. And the other songs are all great too. It’s certainly a top contender right now for my album of the year. Give it a listen.