19 Songs, 1 Hour 19 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Cincinnati-rooted quintet the National has often looked to the grandeur of Britpop and the edginess of post-punk to shape their sound, but those British stylings are tempered with a down-to-earth quality that betrays their Midwestern roots. Their fifth full-length, the critically acclaimed High Violet, was released in 2010, and a few months later this expanded version of the album came out. The additional material is worth checking out. It’s nice to be able to compare the studio take of “Bloodbuzz Ohio” with a live recording of the song that spotlights piano and horns. “London,” which might be the best thing here, and “Anyone’s Ghost” are also presented in live versions. Two previously unreleased tracks, “Wake Up Your Saints” and “You Were a Kindness,” are as good as the cuts that made their way onto the original release. Husky horns mark the intro to “Wake Up Your Saints,” a song that hints at both soul music and cabaret, and the very fine “You Were a Kindness” is the sort of slow, atmospheric piece that gets this band compared to Tindersticks.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Cincinnati-rooted quintet the National has often looked to the grandeur of Britpop and the edginess of post-punk to shape their sound, but those British stylings are tempered with a down-to-earth quality that betrays their Midwestern roots. Their fifth full-length, the critically acclaimed High Violet, was released in 2010, and a few months later this expanded version of the album came out. The additional material is worth checking out. It’s nice to be able to compare the studio take of “Bloodbuzz Ohio” with a live recording of the song that spotlights piano and horns. “London,” which might be the best thing here, and “Anyone’s Ghost” are also presented in live versions. Two previously unreleased tracks, “Wake Up Your Saints” and “You Were a Kindness,” are as good as the cuts that made their way onto the original release. Husky horns mark the intro to “Wake Up Your Saints,” a song that hints at both soul music and cabaret, and the very fine “You Were a Kindness” is the sort of slow, atmospheric piece that gets this band compared to Tindersticks.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
137 Ratings

137 Ratings

PostPunk_Fan ,

Buy this, not the regular version

Quite possibly my favorite album of 2010! ...and for an extra $2 you can get this Expanded Edition. I bought this double CD special edition album at my local record shop for $7.99, just to have the bonus material, even though I already own the standard ed on vinyl. The extra tracks are great. The live songs are high quality recordings as well as performances.

Lemonjelloish ,

It Grows On You

I'll be honest, I bought Boxer and High Violet on a whim. After giving them each a listen I almost regretted the purchase. While I didn't hate the songs by any means, I had just purchased a LOT of new music, and didn't come back to them for some time. However, as time went on I found my mind constantly drifting back to these songs. Fake Empire, Bloodbuzz Ohio, and Little Faith in particular. Since I couldn't seem to get them out of my head I went back and went through and gave the albums a second listen, and then a third, and then a fourth. The National has been my undisputed favorite band for over a year now, and I'm looking forward to whatever they put out next. They also made a single for Portal 2 titled "Exile Villify" and I definitely recommend picking that up somewhere as well.

Seriously, try them out, and even if you're not sure they're what you're looking for, I think you'll be surprised how much they grow on you.

RFarha ,

Crossing the T's; Dotting the I's

When I originally listened to the previous release of High Violet, the quality of Terrible Love, as the opening track, seriously skewed my perception of the entire album. I still haven't seemed to keep it in rotation like I did Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, much less Boxer or Alligator. The National's use of drums is one of the key factors to their sound - the alternate version of Terrible Love fills in the gap that's missing on the previous release - I can finally crank up the volume and hear what is surely the band's intended version of the track. The Extended Version adds some great new tracks and some fantastic live versions. This release may just be what I needed to accept High Violet as part of the true National sound that's permeated so many of my "great moments" the past 4 or so years I've been listening to them.

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