Album reviews are back bitches…(sorry, I’m a massive Pretty Little Liars fan)
These aren’t really album reviews are they? Hence the title change. They are more of an exploration of my personal experience with the music. If you’re looking for a review on here, it will usually consist of I REALLY LIKE IT! So if that’s not for you then no worries, bugger off.
The Decemberists are a great band. They are a great band with a new (ish) album so let’s have a little word gush about it.
‘What a terrible world, What a beautiful world’ is not only a kick ass album title, it’s a fantastic return to form. Not that they ever really lost form? Is that what that means? Well look they were on form, they went away so the lead guy could have a baby and write some epic fantasy and then they came back with this album which is bang on form…meh.
I first came across these guys when a pal stuck ‘We both go down together’ on a mix and I instantly fell in love with it’s inappropriate creepy, borderline rapey and tragic lyrical story.
I then found Sparkle Pony via Portlandia and I became a devoted Decemberists listener. I may even ask for the drummer cut at my next hair appointment (Ha! Like I have hair appointments).
Anyway here we go with the track by track hoedown…(I’m way too British to say that, throw rotten fruit at me)
The singer addresses his audience – Colin Meloy (the rather dashing cavalry captain) has said that this is kind of about him being a front man but that it’s original intention was to be from the POV of a boy band member but boy bands don’t tend to have drummers so I think the line was a continuous blur. The song is a good soft intro to a roller coaster of upbeat then downbeat noise. In an interview I read (and you can read it too) Meloy touches upon the concept of celebrities believing they have ownership over fans, when in reality it’s the opposite that is true. Celebrities are in fact owned by the fans. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be celebrities. I wish more role models were aware of this, perhaps they would be less likely to proclaim their own genius. It’s a good message highlighting that we are all fundamentally the same in a round about way and that we make and break each other.
Calvary captain – This is one of those toe tapping sing a long folk pirate songs. It makes me feel super happy and the delivery on ‘and if only for a second, and if only for a time, we’ll be alive’ really brings a smile to my face. Mainly because whilst I was listening to this on repeat, I was also writing a paper on Existentialism and it summed up the whole bloody concept perfectly. Transient pirate folk rock…hell yeah!
Philomena – Don’t let that dreamy cooing intro reminiscent of those 1940’s car commercial jingles fool you into thinking that this is an innocent little love song. I think this is unmistakably about really badly wanting to taste some minge…too crude? Seriously he wants to eat Philomena out. I can relate (…wait a minute) to the line ‘all I ever wanted in this world…is just to live to see a naked girl’. I was cool and out with being into ladyfaces at around 16/17 which is pretty young to know your own sexuality but I just couldn’t talk to girls without insulting them. In my head I would think I was being irresistibly charming and smart but in reality I would have just called the girl stupid and then rammed my arrogant life philosophy down her throat until she pissed Plato for a week. So…it took me a while to grasp the whole ‘wooing’ thing…Six years later I managed to actually get and hold a girls attention long enough for me to see her naked and yeah it was awesome but maybe not all it was cracked up to be…your life will not finally make sense to you once you lose your virginity…in reality it probably gets more tricky. I should know I’ve done it twice. What the hell am I typing about? Oh yeah oral sex…use a dental dam or know your partners sexual history. You got schooled bitches…(I think Hanna is A)
Make you better – This is a great track with a hilarious video to boot featuring the wonderfully mustachioed Nick Offerman. I’m super late to the Parks and Recreation party train, having only just started watching but I’m partying hard. It seems weird to have such a silly music video for what I considered to be quite a serious song, not sure I will be able to separate the two now, oh well most serious things are stupid…I think I may have just contradicted myself.
Lake song – I get a summery vibe from this one, maybe because it talks about the sun and I’m cold. I get the impression that this is a song about first summer romances and I remember mine fondly so it’s a good song to reminisce to.
Till the water’s all long gone – The great thing about this band and probably my favorite thing about their infinite talent is their ability for storytelling. I guess the lead singer is also a best selling author so this is unsurprising. I think this may be a tad political and might just be alluding to mankind’s continuing behavior of taking resources and not giving a single fuck about the consequences for those who live on the land those resources helm from…or it could be about water parks?
The wrong year – I think this is a track about missed opportunities and past mistakes. Overall this is quite a reflective album therefore the listener is likely to come out of it either feeling a little bummed out or a little more positive about things. It’s a great thinking album and this is a great thinking track. It will seduce you lightly and not fuck you with Plato I promise.
Carolina low – It’s about to get moody up in here. I really like the line ‘you got an ugly little mouth boy’. This is something that used to get said to me a lot during my angsty youth. I was quite sharp witted and could stab you in the face with my poison tongue. I have a bad temper and obviously when I had hormones all over the place it was hard for me to be the nice calm ladyface I am now. So I really like that line because it was a really cutting remark that made me think twice about being an absolute cunt when I was 13. It’s really interesting for me to hear that remark echoed back to me in a song years later, thankfully it hasn’t been used on me for quite some time.
Better not wake the baby – Human puppies are loud and although I’m not a parent I am an auntie and I remember walking my nephew around the town lake and him screaming so loud that I was convinced someone was going to come over and accuse me of kidnapping a child and take him away. When he eventually went off to sleep I would have happily murdered anyone who disturbed him. I am also a tried and tested babysitter and the little fuckers know if you’re even a little bit un-confident…yet I still can’t wait to have my own because apparently I’m a fucking moron.
Anti summer song – I think this should have been titled ‘anti-we both go down together song’. That’s the impression I get and because that was my gateway Decemberist drug I have to name this least favorite album track…boo hiss. It’s really not a terrible song but I do like to have a little criticism to these fangirl explorations of sound.
Easy come, Easy go – If there is one thing that we all have in common it is that we all will die. Death is all for equal opportunities; male, female, gay, straight, weak, strong, young, old, rich, poor, blue and pink…there is no escape and this song is a nice albeit sinister reminder of that. Don’t worry, to paraphrase Peter Pan ‘death will be an awfully great adventure…bitches’ (Peter fucking Pan is A).
Mistral – So I had to google what a mistral is and it makes sense that it’s a type of wind. My girlfriend would kill me for not knowing that, she’s like a weather genius due to the nature of her outdoors work…she had a go at me a couple of days ago for making a metaphor about whirlpools that wasn’t scientifically correct…my poetic way with words is wasted on her…gah!
12/17/12 – I assumed this was Meloy’s son’s birthing date the wrong way around? Damn Americans can’t get the date right. Anyway I was wrong it’s actually the date of the Sandy Hook massacre. The song I guess is about being super excited about bringing his son who they named awesomely Milo Cannonball into this fucking crazy world, which of course, I am sure; gives every good parent reservations about creating and or/providing life. This whole album is about family and you can’t listen to it without contemplating whether it’s worth carrying on our species. Ultimately, I think the album echoes a resounding yes. This track also wins hands down for most loved album track…woo!
A beginning song – This song reminds me that I don’t have a damn clue and you know what? That’s okay because neither do you.
What a terrible world, what a beautiful world was released this very year, (which is 2015 in case you’re from the future) on Rough Trade Records and it’s highest peaking position was on the US Billboard chart at number 7.
The Decemberists are Colin Meloy, Chris Funk, Jenny ‘Sparkle Pony’ Conlee, Nate Query and John Moen. They are a truly wonderful band who tell so many stunningly visual stories through their art. Their sound is mainly very upbeat folk rock and I really don’t know how anyone couldn’t enjoy this album. They are one of those hard to find all round crowd pleasing bands and I highly recommend this album.
Thank you so much for reading bitches…
*also known as @cowardlycomics