The National – High Violet The National – High Violet

The National – High Violet

The National – High Violet

I don’t know if this record is ever going to reach me. I’ve listened to it drunk in Brooklyn at 2am, chain-smoking against the wind and the long lonely blocks from Buttermilk to the subway. I’ve listened to it by the light of day. Sober. Clean. Dirty and enraged. At work. On the train. On headphones, speakers, the New York fucking TIMES website for fuck’s sake.

And it just won’t. It’s somewhere else. Somewhere so very different from where I am or ever want to be.

I keep trying though. I want to let it happen. Like Alligator did. Like Boxer. After so many listens wondering if that baritone was just making fun of me and my, occasionally, maudlin disposition making the incendiary launches into the stratosphere were just ironic jabs from Midwestern jerks at my lingering hope in guitar ecstasy I got it. I GOT IT! It was romance. It was eloquence. In a blinding life of cheap exchanges it was poetry. Cautious, current and beautiful.

And I, quietly, heralded the National as one of the last great living rock bands.

And they may still be. It’s hard to say.

It may be that the somber tenor of High Violet is exactly where I’m headed. Where we all end. Where sorrow waits patiently, desperately entertained every time he catches a smile cross our face. Gnawing at our ankles. Keeping us awake at night thinking about the dogs dying, the days thinning, the imminence of the end without fortune or rest.

Holden Caulfield at 45, stuck in middle management. Drinking rye without irony, thinking – finally – that he should have just fucked that girl in the green dress. Maybe then, things would’ve been different. The kids might still believe in him. Instead, he’s balding. He’s soft. He keeps a journal his wife reads every morning with her pills while he showers, shits and shaves before tucking it back into it’s conspicuous place and resumes her passive hatred. Travels the same route every day.

And, here, the phonies win.

The National - High Violet, reviewed by Charles on 2010-05-27T13:06:01+00:00 rating 2.0 out of 5



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