The National

For many people who listen to the National, and by guitarist Aaron Dessner’s own admission, the band’s career started in 2007. “When we were in the process of making Boxer we knew that we had one shot to enter the room and make a case for ourselves,” vocalist Matt Berninger said in an interview from several years ago. Until that point, the Brooklyn-based five-piece had flirted with alt-country (2001′s The National), angst-ridden rock (2003′s Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers), and a pastiche of the two (2004′s Cherry Tree EP). Nothing seemed to stick until the National released Alligator in 2005, which found the band staring down the barrel of real adulthood. There were still flashes of the band that screamed about bad husbands and cocktails to empty barrooms, but mostly Berninger was just sorry about everything that got him to that point.

Alligator closer “Mr. November” may have kicked the door down, but it was “Fake Empire,” the opening track of their next album, 2007′s Boxer, that really made an entrance. Those opening piano chords contain multitudes; they’re about apathy under George W. Bush as much as they became Obama’s campaign song. The whole album is the sonic equivalent of Jimmy Carter’s famous “malaise” speech, except Berninger implicates himself when he raises his glass to our crisis of confidence. On the album, he doesn’t know whether to pray for his friends or condemn them, he throws money and cries, and this time he promises it’ll be better. His lyrics are driven home by Bryan Devendorf’s studied, powerful drumming, and they’re given emotional depth by Aaron Dessner and his twin brother Bryce hocketing their guitars like light on water. As R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe said of the band when he saw them with Mike Mills at a 2010 concert, “It’s instantaneous. It touches you.”

The release of High Violet ushered in 2010, the Year Of The National. That was when they sold 350,000 copies of Boxer, landed a New York Times cover story, and felt on a more fundamental level that they had arrived. Despite the band’s crippling doubts and arduous songwriting process — “Lemonworld” was rewritten 80 times before they settled on the original version — High Violet is unquestionably their best work to date. It’s like Boxer in high-definition: Every lyrical and instrumental expression is outlined in even more painstaking detail. Back in March, when they announced their forthcoming sixth album, Trouble Will Find Me, they accompanied it with the statement that touring High Violet helped them get to the point where they could confidently release new material. “The songs on one level are our most complex, and on another they’re our most simple and human,” Aaron said. “It just feels like we’ve embraced the chemistry we have.”

Many of the songs on The National, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, and the EPs are good — “Murder Me Rachael” and “Available” in particular introduced The National to many of their most ardent fans — but they’re not great, and the band itself is divided on how their earlier material should be received. Regardless, including them on this list of the National’s 10 best songs would have come at the expense of other, better songs that appeared on band’s last three albums, so no songs from those early releases made it onto this list. Live cuts of songs that will appear on Trouble Will Find Me were also excluded, since they’re too low-quality to give an idea of what they’ll sound like on record. The songs that did make it are indicative of the National as we now know them, the band they’ve dreamed of becoming for 29 years.

10. “Rylan” (from a live session on CBC Radio’s “Q” Show)

One of the best parts about this song is that it was a surprise. The National were supposed to perform “I Need My Girl” (which will appear on Trouble Will Find Me) at Toronto’s CBC Radio as part of their session at the Glenn Gould Studio, but they changed their minds at the last minute. “We’re going to start with a different song, just to mess with it, ’cause it’s live. This song is called Rylan. Uh, R-Y-L-A-N,” Berninger ad-libs. Even before the song begins, Devendorf starts ticking away on the skins, foreshadowing the titular pedophile’s tragic ending. “They say you’re a pervert, you’re a vulture/ Don’t you want to be popular culture?” Berninger sings, shading his character with nuance worthy of good fiction. Still no word on whether the song will see official release, but at least the live recording is of superlative quality.

9. “Exile Vilify” (from the Portal 2: Songs To Test By OST)

This song is simply gorgeous. The swelling orchestra swirls around Berninger like windblown leaves as he walks alone down an empty sidewalk, contemplating the terrible things he’s done to get himself here. Those piano chords owe their cinematic grandeur in part to Badly Drawn Boy’s soundtrack work, especially when tambourines slowly shake out like fate over the chorus. Though it was technically made for a video game about robots, “Exile Vilify” carries enough weight to stand on its own as a transitional song between High Violet and Trouble Will Find Me. And then, of course, there’s the adorable sock puppet, staring sadly over his handler’s shoulder, winning Portal 2’s music video contest.

8. “Conversation 16″ (from High Violet, 2010)

For all intents and purposes, “Conversation 16″ closes out High Violet. “England” and “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” can’t touch the way the Dessners’ guitar riffs keep scratching like a dog at the back door, shifting uncomfortably around the rhythm section as Devendorf times his rim hits like a kitchen wall clock counting down to family dinner. He finally explodes around Berninger’s confession that he doesn’t know what to do with his kids, he likes flowers and coffee, and he’s evil to boot. Images of silver girls and black dreams lifted from Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy are downright chilling, but at the end of the workday “Conversation 16″ sustains the tension that married couples attempt to hide from their kids, the desperate fear that you might kill the one you love the most.

7. “Brainy” (from Boxer, 2007)

One of the more abstract songs on a pretty abstract album, “Brainy” might ultimately be about someone trying to pretend they’re smarter than they are. But of course it’s about other things, too: “The part about boning up is also a mixed metaphor, for um, you know, lust, and also studying,” Berninger awkwardly explained to Paste when Boxer came out. Devendorf thwacks his drums with the thick sounds of fingers flipping through a dictionary as it shuts, a minor guitar tone curling underneath like sexual tension. It builds ominous pressure behind Berninger’s continual taunts and come-ons (“Let me call you love, brainy, brainy, brainy”), and by the time the saxophone and strings overwhelm the end of the song, it’s clear his intentions are ominously more than academic.

6. “Lemonworld” (from High Violet, 2010)

As mentioned earlier, “Lemonworld” is the song that almost wasn’t. It was originally going to be called “Wrath” or “You And Your Sister”, and it wasn’t until engineer Greg Calbi (Bruce Springsteen, Yo La Tengo) gave the National his stamp of approval that they accepted it. Even then, Berninger complained, “Now it’s the ugliest, worst-mixed, least-polished song on the record, and it took the longest to get there.” He sings nearly horizontally, as though sprawled out on a couch at a suburban swinger’s party while he watches his wife flirt with someone else’s husband. “So happy I was invited,” Berninger says, sounding anything but. Thoughts of the war tug at his subconscious, like the violins that surface for just 20 seconds during the bridge, but he never quite gets around to making small talk about them.

5. “Green Gloves” (from Boxer, 2007)

“Green Gloves” builds over a classic the National template, following the sequencing of any climactic moment. Each element is dropped in slowly, judiciously, building in increments over the chorus until they’re blown out into an organ-laced cacophony. Bryce’s fingers slide over his guitar strings like hands working their way into latex gloves, eventually unfurling into the piano-laden chorus as Berninger reveals his grand plan to “get inside their heads.” The whole song sinuously spreads out like a “drop of ink in a glass of water,” tinting everything with the heavy-handed strikes of the keys until everything suddenly drops out for a beat before the verse. It creeps into your head like his fingers between the sheets, fondling the edges of a subconscious that wonders, right before you fall asleep, if someone else is there.  

4. “Mr. November” (from Alligator, 2005)

“I’m the new blue blood/ I’m the great white hope,” Berninger declares, like an overwrought Patrick Bateman. “I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders,” he adds, as if there were any doubt. Then he abruptly disintegrates with frightening suddenness, screaming “I WON’T FUCK US OVER! I’M MR. NOVEMBER! I’M MR. NOVEMBER!” as Devendorf’s drum fills roil in the background. Even eight years later, anyone who still refuses to vote on principle after listening to Berninger tear himself apart like that — especially after the National printed T-shirts with Obama’s name above the words “Mr. November” — shouldn’t be allowed to listen to music anymore.  

3. “Fake Empire” (from Boxer, 2007)

If you listen to the National’s discography chronologically, this song comes immediately after “Mr. November.” Our president obviously chose this song for the feeling it evokes over the lyrics, which are less than inspiring. The bouncing hi-hat and staccato horns imbue the song with hope, like onlookers joining a marching band as it parades down the street. But everyone might be too half-awake to do anything about it, too busy celebrating the idle pleasures of picnicking with spiked lemonade and tiptoeing in a city too shiny to be real. Despite its real-life context, if the underlying message of “Fake Empire” is the future, it’s not an optimistic one.

2. “Afraid Of Everyone” (from High Violet, 2010)

With accordions murmuring alongside a faint, Twilight Zone-y warble, “Afraid Of Everyone” has the most chilling opener of any the National song. And there’s Aaron again, toe-tapping his guitar in the background like the Feds waiting on your doorstep. It’s the cooing choral voices in the background that continually sends chills racing; that is, until the goose-stepping drums kick in, sadly kind of funny behind the image of Berninger defending his family against very real threats with his large umbrella. Perhaps most importantly, the song’s mounting tension sets up High Violet for the immense release that comes next with the band’s opus, “Bloodbuzz Ohio”.

1. “Bloodbuzz Ohio” (from High Violet, 2010)

“Bloodbuzz Ohio” is the beating heart of High Violet and the apotheosis of the band’s career. You see Berninger born aloft by a swarm of bees, flinging his beer bottle over the cliff where he’s parked and watching it smash onto Devendorf’s unstoppable drumming. He still owes “money to the money to the money I owe,” takes off his shirt when he probably shouldn’t, and still has no love for his Midwest hometown. Despite this, pianos galloping around the foot of his love hold promise for the future even if we, like Berninger, know he’ll never actually change. And that’s the great sadness of the National, and anyone that makes music as catharsis, which is the only kind that’s consistently compelling. For the National to keep getting better, they can’t let their problems go away. But for the moment that doesn’t matter, because he’s on a blood buzz, and so are we.

//

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Comments (198)
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  2. this could not be further from the ten best National songs. listen to something other than High Violet.

    • What’s wrong with High Violet? I consider The National to be my favorite band, and I think both Boxer and High Violet are 5-star albums that are near perfect, but I’d still rate High Violet higher overall.

      I agree that this list could include more Alligator and Boxer — and “Brainy” is definitely not the second-best track on Boxer — but there’s nothing wrong with focusing on High Violet.

    • Yeah I think I would have an almost completely different top 10. weird! alligator is totally under rep’d. geese of beverly road, all the wine, baby we’ll be fine…

  3. No Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers material? No Daughters of the Soho Riots or Secret Meeting? This list is a fraud.

    • I normally support these lists wholeheartedly (and I still support the idea), but I’m sorry, High Violet is good, great even, but it is not “unquestionably their best work to date.” (That would be Alligator.)

      For the sake of opinion, fine, High Violet is their best album. But this list has such a weird dearth of great songs. I won’t name my favorites, but 4/10 coming from one album (and it ups to 5/10 since Exile Vilify might as well have been the same sessions) is just…wrong, man.

      Even if High Violet is their best album, here it seems like it is head and shoulders above the others, and that’s crazy, because this band has been writing great songs (and putting out great albums) since 2003.

    • Daughters of the Soho Riots absolutely belongs on this list, along with Abel and the Geese of Beverly Road.

      • Actually…now that I think about it, I can’t reduce my list past these 14 (which incidentally does not include Daughters), in no particular order:

        Terrible Love (alt)
        Fake Empire
        Afraid of Everyone
        Secret Meeting
        Apartment Story
        Bloodbuzz Ohio
        Squalor Victoria
        So Far Around the Bend
        Mr. November
        Sorrow
        Slow Show
        The Geese of Beverly Road
        Racing Like a Pro
        Abel

  4. No “Terrible Love” = NOT INTERESTED in this list.

    • Honestly, I found the album recording of Terrible Love underwhelming after their performance on Fallon (or Kimmel?).

      • I’m guessing you haven’t heard the Alternate Version from the deluxe edition of High Violet, it’s the one they played on Fallon and is miles beyond the first version. And should be on this list, along with Guest Room.

        • I’ll have to check that out. Glad I’m not the only one that found the album version underwhelming. The guitars sound like they were recorded on this:

          Also…Harley, get out of here with all this High Violet nonsense, and listen to Alligator again. And maybe the first two albums, once or twice at least. You really phoned it in on this one. I know negativity usually translates to downvotes on this site, but I don’t care, this list is lazy.

        • i kind of regard that recording as inferior to the version that made the album. the alternate version has too much polish and strength, whereas the album version is ragged and delicate, with a much, much more climatic finish. it also doesn’t really fit the album as well.

  5. I would switch #1 and #2. High Violet is a perfect record.

  6. woozefa  |   Posted on Apr 10th, 2013 +13

    slow show, anyone? also maybe four others from ‘alligator’ and possibly anything from SSFDL?

  7. The way you write off “England” and “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” in the blurb for “Conversation 16″ is offensive. I’m offended. I’m hurt.

  8. made an account just to say this: TERRIBLE LOVE (ALTERNATE VERSION). oh my god.

  9. How does Alligator only have one track on here? That entire album is basically perfect. Can’t believe not even “Abel” or “Secret Meeting” made it.

    • While I do not agree that Alligator is perfect, those two songs are very worthy of being on the list. “Abel” is my fave and, in my opinion, far better than “Blood Buzz Ohio.”

  10. Mr. November.

    • …is on this list.

      Are you saying it should be higher? Or just making the statement that it is, in fact, a National song worth praising?

      • Hahaha shit. I scanned down the list far too fast clearly and must have missed it. Sincerest apologies Stereogum. Worst thing is that I actually think its placing is around about right.

  11. Definitely agree that England and Slow Show should be on this.

  12. One track from Alligator? Nothing from previous releases?

    I mean…Secret Meeting, Geese of Beverly Road, Cherry Tree, About Today???

    WHAT IS THIS, AMATEUR HOUR???

  13. When I went back through their album catalog so I could best retaliate in order to represent my hatred for this shockingly lazy list, what I realized was this….The National have released a shitload of incredible songs in freakishly small amount of time. This list just makes me wanna throw Alligator in WHILE I build myself a better list.

  14. I would also have included a couple more songs from Alligator and maybe another from Boxer, but I definitely agree with your top 3. “Bloodbuzz Ohio” is the song I play for anyone who accuses The National of being too sleepy. It’s one of those songs that lets you look at things from a widescreen lens.

  15. Oh no… I don’t agree with this list at all.

    • I mean, if someone is new to the National, and they google something like “best the national songs” they’ll get this… Come on.

      • If someone is new to The National at this point, then….wait, I lost my train of thought.

        • I’m thinking of younger people, really.

          • Who will speak for the children???

            If any of you hypothethetical kids are reading this, do yourself a favor and just buy the albums. Us grown-ups may bicker about their comparative merits, but I think we would all agree thatthe past three National LPs are some of the finest rock albums of the past several years. They’re earlier stuff is actually pretty great as well. Plus, The National are one of the finest “album bands” producing music today. Yeah, the songs stand out as individual tracks, but they really shine over the course of thewhole album. A National album is like one of those weekend nights,with its highs and its lows, with its hallowed disappointments and its frustrated triumphs, a night that lingers in your mind.

            I guess, I’m saying give them a listen.

      • Good point, although someone new to the National really can’t go wrong with any of Alligator, Boxer, or High Violet.

  16. This has a feel of one of those lists where the list-maker leaves off their most recognizable song just to screw with people. Seriously? No Mistaken for Strangers?

  17. I definitely have some of my personal favorites that I would put on here, including a few from Sad Songs, but I still love all of these songs, so I’m not going to complain.

    What’s up with that picture though? Matt looks like a male model.

  18. No issues with the top 3. But Karen, About Today, Gospel & Terrible Love should all be there. And to leave out Mistaken for Strangers and Think You Can Wait in favour of the meandering, meaningless LEMONWORLD ferchrissakes– ouch, that’s sacrilege

  19. This should probably be called “Stereogum’s Harley Brown’s 10 favorite songs by The National”

    Honestly, I see very little value in all their “top 10 this and top 10 that” lists. Other than making people mad and causing a lot of arguing, they don’t serve any purpose.

    • Welcome to the internet where web sites feature lists that people click and where advertisers buy ads based on how many times people click things. The reason why they feature these lists is just sound business practice — and it turns out that people also love debating this stuff! So, win-win!

  20. Nope. Where is Baby, We’ll Be Fine????

  21. “Oh, this will piss the commenters off…”

  22. I don’t understand the point of creating this list when their new album is so close to coming out.

    What’s going to happen after “Trouble Will Find Me” is out? The National’s Top 10 Songs (REVISED) ?

    • Well, the argument here seems to be that The National get better with each album. Therefore, once Trouble Will Find comes out, Alligator will no longer be relevant, and the author wanted to squeeze one song from there into the list.

      Or something equally head-bashingly stupid.

  23. Alligator is a more or less perfect album. I would expect to see “Abel” or “Karen” on this list. Also, “About Today” is a great representation of “Cherry Tree”-era The National. How about “Apartment Story,” “Slow Show” or “Mistaken for Strangers”? ::internet rage!!!::

  24. hard for me to disagree with this list – maybe lose a song or two from high violet (surely there’s at least SOMETHING from their first two albums to include), but i can’t deny that hv is their tour de force

    also would have switched out any song from hv with runaway – song is pretty mushy but my favorite

  25. Murder Me Rachael is better than anything on High Violet. Alligator could be the entire list. Heck, All The Wine could be on this list three times on its own. Boxer is entirely misrepresented. I think you went out of your way to pick the songs that annoy long time National fans, just to generate an onslaught of comments… dammit. You win.

    • They did. They sure did win. This list is pure troll bait.

      Just starting us off with Rylan and Exile/Vilify is asking for it off the bat. Then, numbers one and two coming from High Violet- and one of them wasn’t England? Brainy and Green Gloves over live show favs Squalor Victoria and Apartment Story? No All the Wine? No Daughters of the SoHo Riots? No Secret Meeting?

      NOTHING off Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (Murder Me Rachel and Available spring to mind)…

      This is just……

      I’m just playing right into it, aren’t I?

      Note I love pretty much all of their songs. There is no wrong answer here. Except for this list, which was the whole point, I suppose. Curse you, Sterogum!

  26. “Many of the songs on The National, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, and the EPs are good — “Murder Me Rachael” and “Available” in particular introduced The National to many of their most ardent fans — but they’re not great, and the band itself is divided on how their earlier material should be received. Regardless, including them on this list of the National’s 10 best songs would have come at the expense of other, better songs that appeared on band’s last three albums, so no songs from those early releases made it onto this list.”

    If even the band don’t know how they should deal with their older materials I think it’s an okay, if risky, judgment call to not include them. It’s a solid list based on the premise laid out.

    • or a bad list based on a flawed premise. different, but the same.

      • That’s a fair judgment too.

      • Agree that the premise here is completely flawed. Bands are supposed to strongly prefer their recent/current work, and it’s only natural for them to have mixed feelings about their early material, but that doesn’t mean it should be disregarded when looking at their career. Thom Yorke probably prefers the stuff he’s doing now to The Bends / OKC, but that doesn’t mean a top Radiohead songs list should not include anything before In Rainbows.

  27. I have no problem with this list, though I’d probably have a different one if I were to make it. “Boodbuzz Ohio” is absolute perfection, one of those songs that always surprises me no matter how many times I play it. Overall, the National are just a really consistent band, so how about we just consider all of their songs to be the best? (ok, they do have some duds, but trying to pick 10 songs is just cruel)

  28. What a shitty list. Not sure about the order but any top 10 National list of mine would definitely include “Daughters of the Soho Riots”, “All the Wine”, “Geese of Beverly Rd” and “Apartment Story.”

  29. Alligator is probably like the best album of the last 10 years. While I love the shit out of Mr. November, that’s not the only exceptionally great National song on it. Also, I take serious issue with your “good not great” assessment of “Available”. “Available” is fucking great, as is “Cardinal Song” as is quite a lot of Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers.

  30. Well. Way to completely phone in an article guys. The lack of any of their earlier work is shocking. Scrap this and start again.

  31. Usually I don’t bother to comment on these lists – because, well, to each their own.

    But this list is absolutely brutal – one of the worst things this site has ever published.

    Bloodbuzz Ohio was a rehash of the themes (musically and lyrically) from Boxer and the first indication of the National showing fatigue. Their best song ever? WOW.

    • I remember literally literally quivering with anticipation when Bloodbuzz came out…and then the crushing dissapointment once I had listened to it through 3 times. This is it? This is all you’ve got? Really?

      The rest of the album was much better, but Bloodbuzz is still a glaring misstep in my opinon. It does not belong on this list. I was working at a radio station at the time, and a lot people really loved the song, those people being mostly those without any prior knowledge of the band. It’s a National song for people that don’t really care for the National, and therefore does not deserve the top spot here.

      • You guys smoke hipster crack! You’re too OG national to appreciate a brilliant song. I can understand this list has glaring holes but to say blood buzz was a misstep is downright asinine.

        • Nope. As I said before, I really enjoyed most of High Violet, and a few of those songs are my favorite (and I’m currently in love with Demons, and can’t wait for the new album). I just don’t get the “buzz” around Bloodbuzz, to me it really doesn’t hold a candle to the rest of their work.

  32. I’m fixin to get indignant on this

  33. WORST STEREOGUM LIST EVER. Hey idiot. These are the national, not fucking U2. Fuck off.

  34. You picked some good ones and some that don’t belong in the top 10.
    3 of your biggest omissions, in my estimation, would be Mistaken for Strangers, The Geese of Beverly Road and About Today.

  35. “90-Mile Water Fall” and “Thirsty,” both from SSFDL, could’ve been on this list. It seems dumb to just write-off everything they did before Alligator as “not-as-good.”

    On a similar note, this is not a great list.

  36. Wow I think this might just be the worst list you guys have done? Not saying that the band has any bad songs but, come on, No “Apartment Story”? One song from Alligator? Nothing from Sad Songs? After reading entries 10 and 9 I was half-convinced that the band’s rendition of “The Rains of Castamere” was going to end up being #1.

  37. Not going to pile on here. Many much more eloquent expressions above.

    Not to be overlooked among their best songs is “So Far Around The Bend” from the “Dark Was The Night” compilation, and would be on my personal top 10.

  38. The first two albums were on a relatively obscure French label, and did not get the promotion they deserved. SLIPPING HUSBAND, from SSFDL, should be on this list, and there are several more contenders. . Alligator being released by Beggars Banquet attracted more attention and so “stuck”, not because it was necessarily better. A pity this list missed the opportunity to highlight the band’s lesser know material.

  39. I figured somebody would have said this by now, but

    “FAKE EMPIRE SHOULD BE NUMBER 1″

  40. I really feel like SSFDL should be in the same conversation (16) as Alligator, Boxer, and High Violet. “Cardinal Song” all the way through “Available” is a glorious stretch of music. And “Pay For Me” on their debut is definitely one of all time favorites.

  41. Alligator, not HV, is unquestionably their best work to date, and a list of best National songs that doesn’t include All the Wine, Karen, About Today or Apartment Story is just wrong. Terrible list.

  42. 1.) Apartment Story
    2.) The Geese of Beverley Road
    3.) England
    4.) Slow Show
    5.) About Today
    6.) All The Wine
    7.) Sorrow
    8.) Karen
    9.) Abel
    10.) Available

  43. No “City Middle”? it’s the most heartbreaking song in the National catalogue! Incredible melody, epic arrangement, lyrical imagery I’ll never forget, and that crushing line about alcoholism (“I think I’m like Tennessee Williams, I wait for ‘the click,’ I wait but it never kicks in”)…that’s their best moment I think

  44. Keeping this simple:

    This is a good, respectable, list. I agree with several of the choices and love all the songs on it.

    I made my list for fun.
    Here it is.

    10. Mistaken for Strangers
    9. Slipping Husband
    8. Conversation 16
    7. Mr. November
    6. Slow Show
    5. Runaway
    4. About Today
    3. Secret Meeting
    2. Fake Empire
    1. Bloodbuzz, Ohio

  45. I love High Violet. As an album it *might* be their best. It’s consistently brilliant, solid all the way through, and entirely cut from one cloth–it does one thing, repeatedly and excellently. That said, it has the least “highlights” of any of their later records for that same reason. It’s also nowhere near as explosive as some of their best material, and I think that’s what’s missing in this list.

    Personally I don’t need them to be explosive; the quiet bits are often my favorite. It’s hard to pick clear “bests” with a band like this, and opinion will always be divided–but for my money they’ve never been better than on “Slow Show”.

  46. Lemonworld? Bizarre choice. And no.

    And “High Violet is unquestionably their best work to date” — sure, if by unquestionably you mean a position I’ve never heard from anyone else ever. I’d put Boxer well ahead of Alligator though, unlike a lot of the other commenters.

  47. mmmmmm no!
    You guys really dropped the ball on this one. Albeit High Violet is a superb album you can’t turn away their older stuff. This is how it should be

    10. Conversation 16
    9. Think You Can Wait
    8. England
    7. Slow Show
    6. Wasp Nest
    5. About Today
    4. Bloodbuzz Ohio
    3. All The Wine
    2. Fake Empire
    1. Mr. November

  48. Here are my top 10 in no specific order, since Stereogum’s top 10 is bunk.

    1) Conversation 16
    2) Slipping Husband
    3) Baby, We’ll Be Fine
    4) Cardinal Song
    5) Sorrow
    6) Squalor Victoria
    7) Mistaken For Strangers
    8) Guest Room
    9) Bloodbuzz Ohio
    10) Val Jester

    ‘Alligator’ and ‘Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers’ were both excellent albums, and far less upbeat than their successors. Definitely worth a listen.

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