High Violet

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This article is about the album. For the band, see The High Violets.
High Violet
Studio album by The National
Released May 10, 2010 (2010-05-10)
(See release history)
Recorded March 2009 – January 2010
Genre Indie rock, post-punk revival
Length 47:40
Language English
Label 4AD (CAD 3X03)
Producer The National
The National chronology
The Virginia EP
(2008)
High Violet
(2010)
Trouble Will Find Me
(2013)

High Violet is the fifth studio album by The National, which was released on May 10, 2010 in Europe and on May 11, 2010 in North America via 4AD.[1] The band produced the album themselves assisted by Peter Katis with whom they worked on their previous albums Alligator and Boxer at their own studio in Brooklyn, New York, and at Katis' Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Connecticut.[2] The sculpture on the album cover was created by artist Mark Fox, and is called The Binding Force.[2][3]

An expanded edition of High Violet was released through 4AD on November 22, 2010.[4][5] The reissue includes the standard 11-track album along with a new bonus disc, featuring the unreleased tracks "You Were a Kindness" and "Wake Up Your Saints" as well as alternate versions, B-sides, and live recordings.

Release[edit]

On March 10, 2010, they performed opening track "Terrible Love" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, two months before the album's release.

The album's first single "Bloodbuzz Ohio" was made available for download on the band's website on March 24, 2010. The song was also released on 7" vinyl (with the exclusive B-side "Sin-Eaters") on May 3, 2010.[6]

On April 19, 2010, a low-quality version of the album was leaked onto the internet in its entirety which prompted the band to announce that the album would be streaming on The New York Times' website from April 23 until April 27,[7][8] then on NPR's website until May 11.[9]

On May 13, 2010, the band played "Afraid of Everyone" on the Late Show with David Letterman. Sufjan Stevens sang backup for them during this performance.

High Violet sold 51,000 copies in its first week of sales, charting at #3 on the Billboard 200. This marks The National's highest charting effort yet (beating Boxer, which debuted at #68).[10]

The track "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" was the featured song at the climax of the second season of the SyFy Channel's TV show Warehouse 13.

In May 2013, the band played High Violet track 'Sorrow' 105 times in a row at an art installation in New York, in a performance lasting six hours.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 85[12]
Review scores
Source Rating
Robert Christgau (A-)[13]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[14]
The A.V. Club (A)[15]
Drowned in Sound (9/10)[16]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[17]
The Independent 4/5 stars[18]
musicOMH 4.5/5 stars[19]
Pitchfork Media (8.7/10)[20]
Q 4/5 stars[21]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[22]
The Skinny 5/5 stars[23]
Slant 4.5/5 stars[24]
Spin (8/10)[25]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[26]
The Telegraph 4/5 stars[27]
The Times 5/5 stars[28]
Uncut 4/5 stars[29]

High Violet was released to wide critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received a "universal acclaim" score of 85, based on 36 reviews.[12] Sputnikmusic awarded the album 5 out of 5, stating "High Violet is another batch of cement to further supplement The National's already unshakable concrete career," also calling the album "their third masterpiece in a row."[30] Drowned in Sound gave the album a 9 out of 10 rating,[31] and the BBC hailed the album as "the New Yorkers' finest disc to date...a potential album of the year."[32] Pitchfork Media's review stated that High Violet is "the sound of a band taking a mandate to be a meaningful rock band seriously," and gave the album a score of 8.7 out of 10.[20]

On October 25, 2010, High Violet was awarded a Q award for Best Album.[33] The award was presented by Bernard Sumner of Joy Division and New Order.

The album was considered by many critics to be one of the best albums of the year. In a Year in Review, Exclaim! gave High Violet their No. 7 spot for Best Pop & Rock Albums of 2010.[34] Exclaim! writer, Travis Persaud said "High Violet continues the envious feat of releasing another album that's superior to its predecessor." This album was number 15 on Rolling Stone's list of the 30 Best Albums of 2010.[35] The album was number 4 on Time's list of Top 10 Albums of 2010.[36] Pitchfork Media placed it at number 28 on its list "The Top 50 Albums of 2010".[37]

On January 14, 2011, The National were nominated for a Brit Award for 'International Breakthrough Act' alongside Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars, losing out to Justin Bieber on the night.[38]

The album was also included in the 2011 edition of the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Chart history[edit]

The album debuted at #3 on the US Billboard 200 and has sold over 250,000 copies in the US and 600,000 copies worldwide.[10][39] The album also debuted in Canada at #2, in Portugal at #3, and in Germany at #10.[10][39][40] High Violet is now a Gold Album in Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Track listing[edit]

Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Terrible Love"   Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner 4:39
2. "Sorrow"   Berninger, A. Dessner 3:25
3. "Anyone's Ghost"   Berninger, Bryce Dessner 2:54
4. "Little Faith"   Berninger, Carin Besser, A. Dessner 4:36
5. "Afraid of Everyone"   Berninger, A. Dessner 4:19
6. "Bloodbuzz Ohio"   Berninger, A. Dessner, Padma Newsome 4:36
7. "Lemonworld"   Berninger, B. Dessner 3:23
8. "Runaway"   Berninger, A. Dessner 5:33
9. "Conversation 16"   Berninger, Carin Besser, A. Dessner 4:18
10. "England"   Berninger, A. Dessner 5:40
11. "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks"   Berninger, Carin Besser, A. Dessner 4:12
Japanese edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
12. "Walk Off"   Berninger, A. Dessner 2:40
13. "Sin-Eaters"   Berninger, A. Dessner 3:40
Expanded edition bonus disc
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Terrible Love" (Alternate Version) Berninger, A. Dessner 4:18
2. "Wake Up Your Saints"   Berninger, A. Dessner 4:14
3. "You Were a Kindness"   Berninger, A. Dessner 4:25
4. "Walk Off"   Berninger, A. Dessner 2:40
5. "Sin-Eaters"   Berninger, A. Dessner 3:39
6. "Bloodbuzz Ohio" (Live on The Current) Berninger, A. Dessner, Padma Newsome 3:53
7. "Anyone's Ghost" (Live at Brooklyn Academy of Music) Berninger, B. Dessner 2:58
8. "England" (Live at Brooklyn Academy of Music) Berninger, A. Dessner 5:27

Singles[edit]

  • "Bloodbuzz Ohio" (May 3, 2010)
    • 4AD (AD 3X22), 7" vinyl and digital download
    1. "Bloodbuzz Ohio" – 4:36
    2. "Sin-Eaters" – 3:40
  • "Anyone's Ghost" (June 28, 2010)
    • 4AD, digital download[41]
    1. "Anyone's Ghost" – 2:54
  • "Terrible Love" (November 22, 2010)
    • 4AD (AD 3X50), violet-coloured 7" vinyl and digital download[4]
    1. "Terrible Love" (Alternate Version) – 4:18
    2. "You Were a Kindness" – 4:25

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format Catalogue #
Worldwide May 10, 2010;
May 11, 2010 (United States)
4AD CD CAD 3X03 CD
Limited CD (with foil-stamped slipcase and special poster) CAD 3X03 CDX
2LP (standard black vinyl) CAD 3X03
Limited 2LP (violet-coloured heavyweight vinyl) CAD 3X03X
Japan May 26, 2010 Beggars Japan/Hostess Entertainment CD (two bonus tracks) CAD 3X03 CDJ/BGJ-10082
Worldwide November 22, 2010 4AD 2CD expanded edition CAD 3X49 CD

Credits[edit]

  • Matt Berninger - lead vocals
  • Aaron Dessner - guitars, piano, keyboards, bass, vocals
  • Bryce Dessner - guitars, keyboards
  • Bryan Devendorf - drum kit, percussion, vocals
  • Scott Devendorf - bass, guitar, vocals
  • Produced by The National.
  • Additional production by Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, and Peter Katis.
  • Recorded between March 2009 and January 2010 in Aaron's garage (Brooklyn, NY) by Peter Mavrogeorgis, Brandon Reid, Aaron Dessner, and Bryce Dessner.
  • Additional recording at Tarquin Studios (Bridgeport, CT) by Peter Katis, and at Kampo Studios (NYC) by Patrick Dillett.
  • Second engineer: Greg Georgio; assisted by Keith J Nelson.
  • Additional vocal recording by Christian Biegai (Berlin, Germany).
  • Mixed by Peter Katis.
  • Additional mixing by Greg Georgio.
  • Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound (NYC).
  • Orchestration by Bryce Dessner and Padma Newsome, except "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" and "Lemonworld" by Nico Muhly.
  • Cover sculpture - The Binding Forceby Mark Fox.
  • Photography by Keith Klenowski.
  • Design by Distant Station Ltd.
Additional musicians
  • Tim Albright – trombone
  • Hideaki Aomori – clarinet, bass clarinet
  • Michael Atkinson – French horn
  • Thomas Bartlett – piano, keyboards
  • Mads Christian Brauer – electronics and filtering
  • CJ Camereri – trumpet, cornet
  • Greg Chudzik – double bass
  • Rachael Elliott – bassoon
  • Alex Hamlin – baritone saxophone
  • Marla Hansen – vocals
  • Maria Jeffers – cello
  • Bridget Kibbey – harp
  • Thom Kozumplik – percussion
  • Benjamin Lanz – trombone
  • Rob Moose – violin
  • Nico Muhly – celeste
  • Dave Nelson – trombone
  • Padma Newsome – violin, viola
  • Richard Reed Parry – double bass, electric guitar, piano, vocals, backing vocal arrangements (on "Conversation 16")
  • Kyle Resnick – trumpet
  • Nadia Sirota – viola
  • Alex Sopp – flute, bass flute
  • Laurel Sprengelmeyer – vocals
  • Sufjan Stevens – harmonium, vocals, backing vocal arrangements (on "Afraid of Everyone")
  • Jeremy Thai – French horn
  • Justin Vernon – vocals

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New National Album: High Violet". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b 4AD - The National reveal further details for High Violet
  3. ^ http://www.markfoxstudio.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Binding-Force.jpg
  4. ^ a b "4AD - News - 'High Violet' Expanded Edition details announced". 4AD. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  5. ^ M., Paul (28 September 2010). "Double CD reissue of The National's High Violet". Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  6. ^ 4AD - The National - Download Free MP3 of the new single, 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'
  7. ^ Tumblr Blog Post
  8. ^ The National Agenda - NYTimes.com
  9. ^ First Listen: The National, 'High Violet'
  10. ^ a b c Spinner.com - The National - Billboard Album Chart
  11. ^ "The National undertake song marathon for art installation". 3 News NZ. May 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "High Violet". Metacritic. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "The National - High Violet". Consumer Guide. Robert Christgau. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
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  18. ^ Gill, Andy (7 May 2010). "Album: The National, High Violet (4AD)". The Independent (London). Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Watson, Rob. "The National - High Violet". musicOMH.com. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
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  21. ^ "Q review". 
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  34. ^ "Pop & Rock Year in Review". Exclaim!. 
  35. ^ "The 30 Best Albums of 2010". Rolling Stone (December 25, 2010). Retrieved 2011-01-18
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  37. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 50 Albums of 2010 | Features". Pitchfork. 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2012-02-21. 
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