all 66 comments

[–]samdoom 16 points17 points  (1 child)

Pleasantly surprised with the poll results. They’ve never put out a bad album but the 3 album run of Boxer, HV and TWFM is pretty unimpeachable.

[–]fuzzypatters 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I think it’s Boxer, but High Violet is close.

[–]GracelessBeast 12 points13 points  (2 children)

There is something great about every album, but for me SWB is an ultimate masterpiece. There is just everything – from classic rock bangers to completely new sounding with electronic arrangements. I love how songs grow from something quiet and melancholic into something epic and monumental like I’ll Still Destroy You and Empire Line. I also like the overall vibe (meditative, lyrical and menacing at the same time) and Matt’s range of singing (from screaming on Turtleneck to just thinking out loud on title track). I’ll never grow tired of returning to this one.

[–]gacbrandao 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Exaactlyy. Damn this record is their masterpiece without a doubt and the flow of the tracklist is flawless. The grammy made total sense

[–]baxterstrangelove 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This will become apparent to more people over time

[–]TimmonsInc 31 points32 points  (12 children)

My theory is for most people it will always be the album that introduced them to the band.

[–]CrimsonStormWaiting for a 90-mile water wall 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I got introduced with High Violet but my favorite is Sleep Well Beast. But honestly any of the four from Boxer to SWB could take the top spot on a given day (with no hate on Alligators or IAETF either).

[–]ArbyArby 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Boxer introduced me to them, but High Violet hit even harder where I knew they were both a legit great band and right up my ally style wise.

[–]STILETT0_existsBuild a fire, Val Jester 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I was introduced to SWB, but Alligator was an awakening for me

[–]waywardcannon 3 points4 points  (1 child)

SWB inteoduced me but Boxer mollywhops hard

[–]TheLoneWander101 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I heard boxer first but trouble found me and is my favorite album ever

[–]ykc87 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I was introduced by sad songs for dirty lovers. I couldn’t vote for it even if I wanted to.

[–]lucashas93 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That makes sense.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Alligator was my first, Boxer was my favorite up until IAETF (which is now my favorite).

[–]kfadffal 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Mine was High Violet and out of the four albums I've really dug into, it goes: TWFM > Boxer >> HV >> SWB.

[–]hannahsmetanaThe dull and wicked ordinary way 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I like alligator, it was the first album I listened to, but I think boxer is their best album. It's got a strong narrative, there are no shit songs and a whole load of great ones and it's like a weighted blanket for the soul.

[–]garnhum 0 points1 point  (0 children)

TWFM gang rise up

[–]LowAmoeba8832[S] 17 points18 points  (6 children)

The lack of love for sleep well beast hurts my soul

[–]okpall 7 points8 points  (2 children)

I think boxer is the best album, but sleep well beast is my favorite. There’s love!

[–]chrisoncontent 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]das_bearking 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Took the words right out of my mouth

[–]cspot1978 1 point2 points  (1 child)

It’s awesome, no doubt. But if you pin people down for one best, they have to make a difficult subjective choice. It is ranking ahead of Alligator, which is sacred territory for many here. So there’s that I guess.

[–]karenputmeinachair 1 point2 points  (0 children)

SWB just never hit with me. Great tracks on there, but as a album it is very disjointed imo. Plus I will never ever understand the love for Guilty Party - one of their most boring "hits"

[–]AltruisticFee9770 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Maybe people are just angry about Turtleneck still 😂 SWB is a fantastic album. I think picking a favorite is almost impossible.

[–]gaybagelsex 8 points9 points  (2 children)

it's boxer by a mile, it's the best album

[–]PaleontologistBig312 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I know I’m going to be in the minority on this one, but Boxer has never resonated with me in the quite the same way Alligator or the post Boxer albums have done. Can’t really explain why!

[–]gaybagelsex 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It wasn't even the first one I'd heard, I think part of it is the way it represents a sort of watershed moment in their career and for their sound, jumping off into a much more post punky kinda thing after it. The songs on their own stand so strong IMO

[–]d4vros 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Boxer is the one. As much as I love all the other albums. But… Boxer.

[–]LowAmoeba8832[S] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

The lack of love for sleep well beast hurts my soul

[–]Illustrious-Umpire92 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Not even including the self titled first album:( (& sad songs for dirty lovers!)

I may be the only one who claims that one as my favorite, haha

[–]LowAmoeba8832[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Couldn't fit them in the poll and knew they wouldn't win 😔

[–]Rubber_soul1993 2 points3 points  (1 child)

  1. Boxer
  2. High Violet
  3. I am Easy to Find

[–]ally1707 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I feel like these albums are the ones that mean the most to me as well. But leaving off TWFM seems criminal nonetheless.

Boxer is their most concise album, HV is their "biggest" (sound-wise) and I will forever defend IAETF because its exploration of love is absolutely beautiful to me!

[–]novaababie 2 points3 points  (1 child)

fought between boxer and alligator, i personally think boxer is their best but alligator is my favorite

[–]H0wSw33tItIs 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is my struggle.

[–]thesecretestmeeting 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Favourite is sleep well beast, but "best" is such a hard term to satisfy. Probably Alligator tbh, widest range of emotions performed in the musically best way

[–]AltruisticFee9770 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I think the poll should ask, which album would you “want to hear played live in its entirety?” I bet Alligator would get more love then.

[–]fifaplayer0519 4 points5 points  (0 children)

TWFM and it’s not close

[–]FriendlyGhost15 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's a tough call, and my favourite songs are split across different albums, but I have to go with SWB.

[–]theprideofvillanuevahad my head in the oven so you'd know where I'll be 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Voted for Boxer so fast, no need to overthink it. Kinda stunned High Violet has the lead

[–]tiotom92 1 point2 points  (0 children)

High Violet for me.

Boxer has four huge songs but the rest are very meh to me.

[–]astxrismireland 1 point2 points  (0 children)

not included here.

[–]blankwhitehousereally trying to shine here ✨ 1 point2 points  (0 children)

my favorite album is boxer for many reasons, but i firmly believe their best album is swb.

[–]nomomomo88 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Suprised SWB is that low. My #1. I became a fan in 2011.

[–]GastonBoykins 2 points3 points  (0 children)

We all know it’s Boxer don’t believe the contrarians

[–]gacbrandao 2 points3 points  (5 children)

Dont understand why People dont see SWB as top 3 or 2 material. I've listened the national since boxer..and even tho I love boxer and HV since they are the foundation to their identity and great records..I think SWB get what they did and brought the songwriting to a New level without sounding repetitive or uninspiring. For real dont understand the hype with TWFM comparing to SWB, cos SWB is waaay more exciting and adventurous..like it has some weird vibes that boxer had + new electronic elements that remind me of Kid A from Radiohead..I mean cmon SWB won a grammy, and it was so well deserved, Plus the production of it is on a another level.

Idk it Just seems that the national fanbase overall likes to be in the safezone, SWB is such an underrated record that it hurts. And dont get me wrong TWFM is good but is so goddamn overrated. Its lacks of the uniqueness that HV or boxer had.. for me TWFM feels like their "sophomore acessible album" like a lot of songs sound like singles..and the ones who dont..are kinda meh..like they are good but they dont stick with you for long..like fireproof for example..or heavenfaced..idk..its missing something..some concept sound that guides the record or the overwall vibe..Sometimes TWFM feels like a Hits collection record..and Idk even tho its Nice to listen to cos of some of its great moments it stills lack some depth as record for me.

[–]cspot1978 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Well, the question didn’t allow for a ranked ballot answer from individual answerers. You can’t assume the top 3 votes for best represent top 3 at the level of any individual. (Though in my case, it is probably the case, much as I enjoy the other ones, including SWB)

[–]junglebunglerumble 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Yeah I agree completely - TWFM is fine but it always felt like The National on safe mode/autopilot to me, and at points basically sounds like a Coldplay record. Far too glossy and safe production and song writing wise.

The band even said similar themselves, that when making TWFM they overdid it and made an intentional effort to strip back their sound a bit for SWB, which I think was a good call.

TWFM has my favourite National song ever on it (Humiliation) but other than that and a couple of others I find it a bit of a drag to get through. I'm not sure how an album that contains songs like Demons or Fireproof is viewed by the fanbase as anything other than painfully average - nobody goes to a National show hoping they play those songs, and they're almost never mentioned individually on here, yet you'd think every song on TWFM is a 10/10 banger the way people talk about it

[–]gacbrandao 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Thats exactly my point..like wtf. And yes Humiliation is the best for me too of the record. There are 4 songs that really Shine for me there..Humiliation, Graceless, Sea of love and Pink rabbits. Btw I do get what u said about coldplay, but I love them..but its True that since Mylo xyloto they overproduced thing..they should kept what they had with viva la vida album.

But anyway..it is very strange how the fanbase suck TWFM and never really explains why. I Love how SWB is them taking more risks maintaining their identity even more than TWFM for me..its like...SWB is the boxer band but more subtle with electronic experimentations

[–]cspot1978 1 point2 points  (1 child)

For myself, 2013, when it came out, was a turning point year in my life. A lot of stuff going on. Discovered the band and saw them in concert that year. Also went on a very memorable seaside road trip where the watery sounds of that record were the perfect soundtrack. So all that added up to it burning into my consciousness in a special way.

[–]gacbrandao 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah I do get that. Everyone has its own experience and story with it and that counts. I do like TWFM, It has a lot of great moments..I Just think that comparing to other albums of them it feels a little more uninspiring for me even tho is good..I miss the weirdness or complexity that they have on songs like brainy or squalor victoria for example, TWFM has consistency but it never grabbed me like a lot of fanbase, still like...8/10 anyway

[–]Lost_Rin_953Lives in a lemonworld 🍋 1 point2 points  (0 children)

HV introduced me, but SWB is absolutely magical, so it has to go to that one.

[–]Froghatleghorn 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was introduced to them with Boxer and loved it, but High Violet floored me when it was released. Still go back to those two every so often, but none of their other albums have done anything for me—they all sound like the color gray.

I’ll keep trying with every new release, though! 🤷‍♂️

[–]MEK42 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Truly embarassing for this subreddit that SWB is higher than Alligator

[–]WeBee3D -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

According to this very unscientific poll, this band peaked years ago. :) Will they make a striking comeback?

[–]RoughCollies -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

I understand that some people like IAETF, but 45 (at this point) think it's the best album the band has ever released? Huh...?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I love all of them from Boxer to the present. IAETF is my favorite with Trouble second. High Violet has some production issues. Sleep Well Beast has some songs that sound unfinished to me. Boxer doesn’t have the modern Dessner production.

[–]mess_that_you_wanted 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sad songs for dirty lovers gets paid DIRT

[–]jagrbro68 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]shorty11857 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Boxer for me, honestly High Violet might be my least favourite of the choices

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

How did you do a poll? It won’t let me 🫢

[–]bradk11098 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Really surprised by High Violet love. It honestly is not even in my top 3 which are SWB, Alligator and TWFM in that order.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (including me!).

[–]hannahsmetanaThe dull and wicked ordinary way 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Boxer is best, alligator is favourite

[–]Scared_Mirror5967 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yea I got introduced with Alligator. Surprised how lowly ranked it is wth. Feels like another life time ago. I still remember downloading a leaked version of Boxer and burning it to a CD lol. Wish they’d make music similar to Alligator again, but that will likely never happen. I still enjoy their music.

For me it’s: 1) Boxer 2) Alligator 3) TWFM 4) HV 5) Sleep Well 6) IAETF