Monday, May 31, 2010

$3 Music Review: The National - High Violet

I had this review completely written, pasted something into it, went to delete the last pasted thing, got a little handsy with the touch pad on my Macbook and mistakenly deleted the whole thing, and Blogger helpfully auto-saved it at that moment.


And it was so important!

If not important, than at least an hour of my life.


Should I start over?

Here's a shortened version, because I've thrown the earbuds out of my ears in frustration and made a pouty noise, so I'm not in the same place, musically.

I've been cueing up The National's new release, High Violet, in the car, listening for a few songs, and then itchily switching the iPhone to Passion Pit or Two Door Cinema Club for a happiness break. My mood has been hormonally blackened over the past few days, and The National is not safe under severely stormy conditions. However, like Volcano Choir, the sound, the layers of sound, and even the mood of the sound, were heightened exponentially once played through my earbuds.

And what is the mood of the music? Um, brooding without being whiny. Deep without being dark. Thoughtful without being navel-gazing. It's best when the drums are anchored firmly to the bass to match that deep voice.  It's the stuff on your iPod that gives your walk around the city that extra gravitas.

Critics aren't sure whether this album stands up to the (what was that word they used? divinity? excellenceness? superlove?) esteem in which they hold their earlier release, Boxer, but they mostly like it. And after a chat with my music therapist, Dean, and some YouTube time, I found that Boxer (which had gone unnoticed by me on account of my nerdism) does hold some divine songs, including "All the Wine," which is a cocktail hour playlist MUST.  However, this one has some outstanding cuts as well, such as "Bloodbuzz Ohio," "Terrible Love," "Sorrow," "England," you know, I'm starting to like the whole thing.

Now a word about The Voice. The National's lead, Matt Berninger, has a distinctive buttery sleepy baritone that, once you see the box that the voice comes wrapped in, gives you one of those Rick Astley moments (THAT voice comes out of THAT face?). However, absorbing the two helps give the songs more of a whimsical vibe then if the words and that voice had come out of the large, bearlike fellow you might have originally imagined. You can experience the voice+quirkiness best in this video.

My Final Opinion re The National's High Violet on the cold/lukewarm/hot scale: Hot.


DT said...

That Youtube video's one of those lame "here's the album cover while the song plays things."

Here's the one you wanna watch:

piglet said...

Lame. I'll revise.