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What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

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iTunes Review

Where's an erstwhile indie band to go after scoring a No. 1 album? If you're The Decemberists, you keep a tight grip on your rarefied blend of idiosyncrasy and accessibility. Following up their commercial hit The King Is Dead, the Portland troupe continue to craft graceful, pop-kissed melodies with lambent folk-rock arrangements. On What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, the band muse about everything from carnal cravings ("Philomena") to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting ("12/17/12"). Yet, The Decemberists' best subject proves to be themselves, whether they're feigning an apology to fans for their artistic evolution ("The Singer Addresses His Audience") or unfurling the bookish equivalent of Bob Seger's "Night Moves" (the luminous "Lake Song").

Customer Reviews


The Decemberists have never delivered anything half assed... but this album is just that. The sound is deceiving and lazy in comparison of their previous work. By the time the last track is playing you're just very grateful to be alive and out of it.

Yikes, so disappointing

I had high hopes of this Decemberists album.. It fell short. It seems all their songs (with the exception of a few) we're put together haphazardly. They sound like almost every other band that's out there right now. I miss their individualism. So sad, also -- what's with the half assed fade out? Come up with real endings.

wildwood author?

isn't one of the guys in this band the author of Wildwood?


Formed: 2000 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

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...
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