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Thread: Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States

    Default Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

    enters the Billboard chart this week at #7

    Spotify online listen
    4.0 of 5.0 by allmusic

    8th studio album
    Michael Stipe or Coner Oberst maybe
    quite varied styles on this
    styles I like
    making this the best album I have heard this year
    it's early

    artist website -

    Bio - from allmusic

    Led by Montana native Colin Meloy, the Decemberists craft theatrical, hyper-literate pop songs that draw heavily from late-'60s British folk acts like Fairport Convention
    and Pentangle and the early-'80s college rock grandeur of the Waterboys and R.E.M. The band's initial lineup also included drummer Ezra Holbrook, bassist Nate
    Query, keyboardist/accordionist Jenny Conlee, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk. Frontman Meloy had previously devoted some time to an alternative country group
    before breaking off to pursue his craft as a singer/songwriter in the city of Portland, a move that eventually led to the Decemberists' formation. Drawing influence from his
    degree in creative writing, he began fashioning a hybrid of literate lyrics and wide-ranging pop music, touching upon everything from Sandy Denny to Morrissey in the

    Before Hush Records released the band's debut album in 2002, the Decemberists baited their initial fans with a five-track EP. Their full-length debut, Castaways and
    Cutouts, was re-released that same year on the Kill Rock Stars label, and the band began to accumulate a serious fan base. After adding organist and keyboardist
    Rachel Blumberg to the group, in 2003 the Decemberists released Her Majesty, another fine collection of theatrical indie pop with pastoral sensibilities that further
    cemented their growing reputation. One year later, a five-part epic EP entitled The Tain -- based on the eighth century Irish poem of the same name -- appeared,
    followed by the full-length Picaresque in 2005.

    The group, which at this point consisted of Meloy, Conlee, Query, Funk, and drummer John Moen, made the move to the major leagues by signing with Capitol Records
    in advance of 2006's The Crane Wife, which managed to hit number 35 on the Billboard 200. The album also grabbed the attention of comedian/actor Stephen Colbert,
    who challenged Funk to a guitar solo competition during a live taping of his show The Colbert Report. For their next project, the Decemberists tackled one of Meloy's
    most ambitious ideas to date: an honest to God rock opera. The Hazards of Love appeared in 2009, featuring a fantasy-filled story line as well as cameos from My
    Morning Jacket's Jim James, Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark, and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden.

    In January 2011, the band unexpectedly topped the charts with The King Is Dead, a concise and rustic country-pop collection that featured guest appearances by Peter
    Buck and Gillian Welch, and followed it up later that year with the outtakes EP Long Live the King. With touring completed for The King Is Dead, the band went on hiatus,
    but still released the double live album We All Raise Our Voices to the Air in 2012. Two years later, in early 2014, the Decemberists announced several live dates for the
    summer and the beginning of work on their seventh studio album. On January 20, 2015, the album, titled What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, was released,
    and the group celebrated the event with a three-month tour covering the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.

    Album Review - from allmusic

    The Decemberists belatedly embraced their indie pop sensibilities (or at very least their fondness for R.E.M.) on 2011's The King Is Dead, and were rewarded with a
    number one chart placing and the group's greatest commercial success to date, leading some to wonder if Colin Meloy and his bandmates were going to go for more
    hooks or return to the more ornate sound of their earlier work now that they had a large audience waiting for the follow-up. As it turns out, 2014's What a Terrible World,
    What a Beautiful World finds the Decemberists managing to have it both ways; if anything, many of these songs are brighter and hookier than those on The King Is
    Dead, but if this is pop, it's pop that's keenly intelligent, melodically adventurous, obsessively literate, and perfectly willing to explore sadness and disappointment rather
    than just the upbeat moods that are expected to accompany catchy melodies. The melodies on "Lake Song" and "Till the Water Is All Long Gone" may be more
    streamlined than you'd hear on Picaresque or The Crane Wife, but the arrangements are richly detailed, playing on the dynamics of Chris Funk's guitars, Jenny Conlee's
    keyboards and accordions, and John Moen's percussion, and the group takes much pleasure in the dour beauty of its melodies. The band also embraces its upbeat
    side on this album with numbers like "The Wrong Year" and "Philomena" (the latter pondering teenage lust as only the Decemberists can), and the opening track, "The
    Singer Addresses His Audience," is a witty but cutting meditation on the notion of fame, its impact on the culture, and where the Decemberists fit into the puzzle in the
    wake of hit records and appearances on Parks & Recreation. There's still more than enough folk in the Decemberists' approach to make them stand apart from their
    peers on the upper reaches of the pop charts, and the intuitive smarts of their stylistic vision are still front and center, but What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World is
    an album where the creative sprawl is more a matter of how this divergent selection of melodies and moods interacts, rather than how many elements can be folded into
    one song; this is very clearly the Decemberists, but with a new kind of focus in their songs and arrangements that makes it clear this album's sound is a result of creative
    evolution, not an offering to their newer, larger audience, and it's a sweet and sour wonder that rewards repeated listening.

    must be the single since there's a video
    song doesn't start till 1:30 in:

    Track Listing

    1. The Singer Addresses His Audience
    2. Cavalry Captain
    3. Philomena
    4. Make You Better
    5. Lake Song
    6. Til the Water's All Long Gone
    7. The Wrong Year
    8. Carolina Low
    9. Better Not Wake the Baby
    10. Anti-Summersong
    11. Easy Come, Easy Go
    12. Mistral
    13. 12/17/12
    14. A Beginning Song
    A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.
    Will Rogers

  2. #2


    i have "the king is dead"...good album IMO,
    sounds like i need to hear this one also.

  3. #3
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States


    I remember liking The Crane Wife when it came out
    A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.
    Will Rogers

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