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High Violet (Expanded Edition)

High Violet (Expanded Edition) by The National
Released: May 2010
Label: 4ad
Not since Radiohead has a band outdone itself so emphatically album over album. High Violet is a high-water mark, jam-packed with surprises: the falsetto coos in the middle of "Sorrow," the mechanical screeches that kick off "Little Faith," the bassoon (bassoon!) in "Afraid of Everyone." Vying for MVP status are Matt Berninger's lyrics and phrasing, as exemplified on "Lemonworld," a song about the suburbs so raw and languid it could star Kate Winslet: "You and your sister live in a lemonworld/ I wanna sit in and die." If piano wire were an ice cream flavor, it'd taste like this.
Garrett Kamps