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The National

High Violet

10th May 2010

High Violet, the fifth full album by The National, is released on 4AD on May 10th. It was the first to be recorded at the band’s own studio in Brooklyn, with mixing taking place at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Connecticut with Peter Katis. It’s an astonishingly powerful record, sometimes cathartic and sometimes unresolved, sometimes raw and sometimes reflective, which reveals deeper musical hues and lyrical riches upon every listen. Brilliant and shadowy it feels like The National’s best yet.

Pulses and impulses seem to pull against each other but somehow create a balance of tension throughout, as Matt Berninger notes. “Oddly, though this album is catchier and more fun than our other records, it's also a lot bleaker in its ideas and themes. We started out trying to make a light and happy record, but it just didn't happen."

“So it’s not a hi-fi record,” says Aaron. “But it’s also not garage rock. It’s somewhere in between. It’s very heartfelt. The only harmonious finger-picking, which was really the core sound of Alligator and Boxer, is on 'Runaway'. It’s our scrappiest record and our most immediate, with plenty of loose ends.” In Aaron’s opinion these are Matt’s strongest lyrics (“[And] he’s singing out more, less understated”). It’s definitely epic.

Matt concurs that he was looking for melodies that were “fun, and maybe a little outside my previous range.” While he acknowledges that a personal, confessional element is always going to be intrinsic in the lyrics, there’s a conviction that High Violet has a wider, communal perspective. “There’s more of an “us” than an “I”. The perspective is less singular. Maybe that has to do with having a baby and family.” It’s perhaps most evident on 'Afraid Of Everyone', a chilling response to the separations currently dividing America. While 'Conversation 16' hovers on the brink of frustration and rage, 'Runaway' is the subtlest of love songs and 'Lemonworld' hails the value of hope, fun and fantasy. As Matt muses, the lyrics were going to go where they wanted “and I could only fight that up to a point.”

The album features guest appearances from Justin Vernon, Sufjan Stevens, Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Padma Newsome and Thomas Bartlett. 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' will be the first single. On one level a rip-snorting dynamic rock song, it’s also an elegy to things that are gone and to realising you’ll never be a teenager again. “But then, I prefer misquotes to the actual lyrics,” says Matt. “It gives the songs more dimensions when people are hearing something else...”

1 Terrible Love 4.40
2 Sorrow 3.25
3 Anyone’s Ghost 2.54
4 Little Faith 4.37
5 Afraid Of Everyone 4.19
6 Bloodbuzz Ohio 4.36
7 Lemonworld 3.24
8 Runaway 5.34
9 Conversation 16 4.19
10 England 5.40
11 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks 4.12
1 Terrible Love 4.40
2 Sorrow 3.25
3 Anyone’s Ghost 2.54
4 Little Faith 4.37
5 Afraid Of Everyone 4.19
6 Bloodbuzz Ohio 4.36
7 Lemonworld 3.24
8 Runaway 5.34
9 Conversation 16 4.19
10 England 5.40
11 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks 4.12
12 Walk Off 2.39
13 Sin-Eaters 3.37
1 Terrible Love 4.40
2 Sorrow 3.25
3 Anyone’s Ghost 2.54
1 Little Faith 4.37
2 Afraid Of Everyone 4.19
3 Bloodbuzz Ohio 4.36
1 Lemonworld 3.24
2 Runaway 5.34
3 Conversation 16 4.19
1 England 5.40
2 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks 4.12
1 Terrible Love 4.40
2 Sorrow 3.25
3 Anyone’s Ghost 2.54
4 Little Faith 4.37
5 Afraid Of Everyone 4.19
6 Bloodbuzz Ohio 4.36
7 Lemonworld 3.24
8 Runaway 5.34
9 Conversation 16 4.19
10 England 5.40
11 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks 4.12
1 Terrible Love 4.40
2 Sorrow 3.25
3 Anyone’s Ghost 2.54
4 Little Faith 4.37
5 Afraid Of Everyone 4.19
6 Bloodbuzz Ohio 4.36
7 Lemonworld 3.24
8 Runaway 5.34
9 Conversation 16 4.19
10 England 5.40
11 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks 4.12
1 Terrible Love 4.40
2 Sorrow 3.25
3 Anyone’s Ghost 2.54
4 Little Faith 4.37
5 Afraid Of Everyone 4.19
6 Bloodbuzz Ohio 4.36
7 Lemonworld 3.24
8 Runaway 5.34
9 Conversation 16 4.19
10 England 5.40
11 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks 4.12
12 Walk Off 2.39
13 Sin-Eaters 3.37
1 Terrible Love 4.40
2 Sorrow 3.25
3 Anyone’s Ghost 2.54
4 Little Faith 4.37
5 Afraid Of Everyone 4.19
6 Bloodbuzz Ohio 4.36
7 Lemonworld 3.24
8 Runaway 5.34
9 Conversation 16 4.19
10 England 5.40
11 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks 4.12
12 Walk Off 2.39
13 Sin-Eaters 3.37
1 Terrible Love 4.40
2 Sorrow 3.25
3 Anyone’s Ghost 2.54
4 Little Faith 4.37
5 Afraid Of Everyone 4.19
6 Bloodbuzz Ohio 4.36
7 Lemonworld 3.24
8 Runaway 5.34
9 Conversation 16 4.19
10 England 5.40
11 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks 4.12

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High Violet

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