This has been the year that I’ve been making an effort to listen to as much new music as possible. And one of the awesome things about that is discovering bands that don’t just have amazing new albums, but an awesome back catalogue. The National is one of those bands.
“High Violet” doesn’t really change the state of music. It isn’t genre bending and it isn’t boundary pushing. But damn it if it isn’t just beautiful. I’m hesitant to make the comparison, but the sense of loss and sadness on this album somehow mimics Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.” Not lyrically, obviously (most of Davis’ music is instrumental), but in terms of an overall feel to the album. There’s a feeling of pain and emotion on this album that truly stands out and forces multiple listens.
But I didn’t always think this way. Yishai had been bugging me to check out The National for about year before I gave “High Violet” a listen. And I, like many non-fans I’ve spoke to, didn’t exactly love the album on the first listen. It seemed a bit boring and depressing; like a tired indie band whose only innovation was that their singer has a baritone.
And then I came back to the album. And again. And again. This album, somehow, has this powerful pull, that truly grabs the listener – maybe not initially, but in a way that the songs stick to the roof of your mouth, like a pleasant version of the aftermath of a spoon of peanut butter. The sounds just sort of stay there and settle, oozing their way into the brain, slowly breaking down our defenses to this kind of music and forces us to fall in love with it.
I’ve fallen for the album and the band, and you should too.
The National – Terrible Love
The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio