Thursday, May 06, 2010

The National - High Violet

Well, this is the one everyone has been waiting for (especially the NYT). But if you're expecting The Boxer, Part II you may be disappointed.

I'm pretty sure The National's new album could have just as easily been titled: "Where did we go from there?" Which is basically the question to be asked after the huge success of The Boxer 3+ years ago. Upon finishing the previous album you were not only left wanting more, but thinking, "What do you do when you reach the top of the [artistic] mountain?" and the inevitable answer is you come back down. How fast that decent occurs varies drastically from one artist to another.

For The National it's thankfully at a slower pace but the momentum is unfortunately downward. High Violet is truly a tale of a two-sided album, where the second side/half is more enjoyable than the first. There are fewer instantly memorable songs on this album. Maybe it's meant to grow on you after all the time and meticulous attention to detail that went into the album. Either way, the album is an achievement that could have seen the band go in a totally opposite direction or become completely complacent. Thankfully they didn't. Maybe this album will continue to grow on me.


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