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High Violet (Expanded Edition)

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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

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.

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.

Now I can give this album a 5

I heard Terrible Love live (on Jimmy Fallon I think) a couple of months before High Violet came out and loved it - couldn't wait for the new album. Got it the day it came out, cranked up Terrible Love...and like so many of you was really disappointed. Not only did it not sound like the live version at all, it didn't sound like the National. So this album was tainted from the start. It eventually grew on me but it took a while.

But this extended album with the alternate version of Terrible Love is awesome. The live versions are great, especially England which became my favorite track since they botched Terrible Love. Highly recommend this version of the album.


Formed: 1999 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although formed during the post-punk revival of the late '90s, the National took inspiration from a wider set of influences, including country-rock, Americana, indie rock, and Brit-pop. The lineup began taking shape in Ohio and officially cemented itself in New York, with baritone vocalist Matt Berninger joining forces with two sets of brothers -- Scott (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums), and Aaron (guitar) and Bryce Dessner (guitar). After establishing themselves as a live act, the bandmates made...
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