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Old 05-11-2011, 06:08 AM   #631
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Lit Up is fast becoming one of my favorite NASH! songs. I don't feel like we talk about that one nearly enough, and it was, funny enough, a single.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:13 AM   #632
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It's a great song, especially since it rocks (per National standards of course), which is something that is sorely missed in their post-Alligator repertoire. And it was brought back on this tour so hopefully I'll get to see it at my next gig.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:15 AM   #633
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I love Lit Up. Another example of what first attracted me to the band.

HiVio > Alligator > Boxer.

Boxer still does bugger all for me. I love Fake Empire (shit that works well with England live) and Mistaken for Strangers, and Brainy, Slow Show and Apartment Story are pretty good, but the rest ranges from just ok (Guest Room) to bores me to tears (Green Gloves). It all runs together. I know I'm in the absolute minority with this opinion. The cover I think is a pretty accurate reflection of the music.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:24 AM   #634
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Unlike Alligator, the second half of Boxer isn't as stacked with fan favorites as the first, but Ada is spectacular. And what's your take on Start A War?

Guest Room is pretty bad.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:38 AM   #635
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Ada is decent, but I never have a desire to listen to it. Start a War is pretty I guess, but does little for me. I think because I listen to full albums far more often than I do songs by themselves, these tracks get lost in the myriad of drab ordinariness that is so much of Boxer - again, just my opinion, and just about as unpopular as you can get around here.

Alligator's tracklisting isn't great. And songs like City Middle, Friend of Mine, Val Jester... don't do much for me either.

That's why High Violet is far and away my favourite. Great tracklisting with the more energetic tracks mixed in amongst the quieter moments. I like all 12 songs, even Little Faith.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:51 AM   #636
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Oh man, City Middle makes me tear up every time. Like the best Boxer tracks, it's intimate and quietly profound.

And that's why I don't feel as strongly positive about High Violet as most do: it does stay in that middle-slow gear for most of its run time, and it's rare that I really feel the same connection with it that I do its predecessors. The songs are longer, the production is more expansive, but the connection just isn't quite there for me. It's a great National album on paper, but I haven't warmed to it yet.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:20 AM   #637
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ada is good, gospel ends the album in that way that makes it seem like a terrible idea to listen to any other band after it's over. i would have agreed with cobbler at one point, because the post-apartment story block of songs on boxer didn't do much for me at first. but i pretty much like the entire album now. well, "squalor victoria" still kinda blows.

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Lit Up is fast becoming one of my favorite NASH! songs. I don't feel like we talk about that one nearly enough, and it was, funny enough, a single.

that song is great. but the transition into looking for astronauts kind of annoys me.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:41 AM   #638
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There's no point even listening to Squalor Victoria if you've heard the live version. Probably the biggest improvement from studio to live I've heard.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:34 AM   #639
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There's no point even listening to Squalor Victoria if you've heard the live version. Probably the biggest improvement from studio to live I've heard.
This is true. As for Boxer, I too thought that it was a bit nondescript at first, but I now regard it as a near-masterpiece. Those final three tracks are impeccable in the sense that they feel exactly like the theme: straddling the line between youth and adulthood.

It seems to me that the studio albums follow that trajectory of life development: Sad Songs and Alligator are visceral and fiery, whereas Boxer and High Violet are more sedate and contemplative. When one is young and optimistic, Alligator is bound to seem more poignant; when the weight of the adulthood starts to burden you, however, Boxer and High Violet seem painfully appropriate. How's that for a happy thought?
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:37 PM   #640
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There's no point even listening to Squalor Victoria if you've heard the live version. Probably the biggest improvement from studio to live I've heard.
The National are definitely one of those semi-rare bands that almost always improves their songs in a live setting. Wish they'd release a live album or DVD from this tour. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:34 PM   #641
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There's no point even listening to Squalor Victoria if you've heard the live version. Probably the biggest improvement from studio to live I've heard.
Absolutely blew my mind when I had a chance to see it. I've always found the song pretty quirky and interesting in a way, but it absolutely slays live.
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:43 PM   #642
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You guys are still talking about this band?
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:47 PM   #643
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Absolutely blew my mind when I had a chance to see it. I've always found the song pretty quirky and interesting in a way, but it absolutely slays live.
Yeah, I love it when Matt goes nuts at the end and then throws down the mic stand. I think "Anyone's Ghost" also benefits live from his more aggressive vocals. The star of both those songs in the live setting, though, is Bryan Devendorf. The drumming is Bonham-esque, and I mean that as an extremely high compliment.
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:51 PM   #644
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Boxer still does bugger all for me. I love Fake Empire (shit that works well with England live) and Mistaken for Strangers, and Brainy, Slow Show and Apartment Story are pretty good, but the rest ranges from just ok (Guest Room) to bores me to tears (Green Gloves). It all runs together. I know I'm in the absolute minority with this opinion. The cover I think is a pretty accurate reflection of the music.
Start a War and Guest Room don't do much for me, but Green Gloves might be my favorite track on Boxer after Brainy. It's a gorgeous song, and your statement has required me to revoke your National fanboy card.
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There's no point even listening to Squalor Victoria if you've heard the live version. Probably the biggest improvement from studio to live I've heard.
However, you are completely correct about this. They claim that the ending to that song only works live, but I call bullshit. I think the whole song makes so much more sense if it builds to that. I understand the idea of a buildup that stops suddenly, but I don't think that it makes the song better in the context of the album like they claim it does.
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The National are definitely one of those semi-rare bands that almost always improves their songs in a live setting. Wish they'd release a live album or DVD from this tour. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
I generally find most bands I listen to are better live than they are in the studio. The National, U2, Springsteen, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, even Radiohead (that might be a contested statement by some). I think it's rare for a band to be worse live, personally.
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Yeah, I love it when Matt goes nuts at the end and then throws down the mic stand. I think "Anyone's Ghost" also benefits live from his more aggressive vocals. The star of both those songs in the live setting, though, is Bryan Devendorf. The drumming is Bonham-esque, and I mean that as an extremely high compliment.
Devendorf is the best drummer going right now.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:14 PM   #645
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I didn't care much for "Green Gloves" until very recently when I paid a bit more attention to the lyrics, and then it clicked with me in a big way.

But I don't understand how ANYONE could be unmoved by "Start A War"
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