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The King Is Dead

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Editors’ Notes

After a decade-long foray into British-inspired folk-rock, The Decemberists now proclaim The King Is Dead. The Portland-based group’s sixth studio album signals a sea change and offers more of an Americana bent — with the mostly delicate, swaying, and passionate compositions adorned with themes of transition and rebirth. This can be immediately heard on the opening track, “Don’t Carry It All,” featuring harmonica, methodical rhythm guitar, and light strings. Things get a bit alt-country on the Peter Buck–assisted “Calamity Song” — in fact, the R.E.M. member appears on several songs, as does chanteuse Gillian Welch. That tune about returning home and falling into an angel's arms (“Calamity Song”) cohesively transitions into “Rise to Me,” an acoustic composition brushed with mixed-gender harmonies, harmonica, and pedal-steel guitar. There’s a markedly simple nature to The King Is Dead, a testament to The Decemberists' way of making everything sound so pleasant and breezy.

Customer Reviews

Incredible Album...

This is my favorite album of all time. It's a truely beautiful masterpiece both musically and lyrically from the first second to the last. It's an album full of life and youthful spirit that reminds me of all the best things in life: spring, summer, and good friends.

Worth buying and cherishing. Thank you Decemberists.

Awesome album

This is a must buy

Buy if you like country, if not AVOID!

I've loved this bands music up till this album. To go from "Legionaries Lament" or "Rakes Song" to some of the honky tonk lite on here is just to disturbing and disrupting when putting this artist on shuffle, just can't do it anymore.

Yes I completely dislike country and shouldn't have bought the album. For some reason the two songs I first listened too prior to buying the album were pretty good, then it took a dramatic nose dive into country. Not sure how this album qualifies as anything but country, not my idea of alternative at any rate.


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...
Full Bio
The King Is Dead, The Decemberists
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Adult Alternative, Music, Rock, Alternative, Country, Alternative Country
  • Released: Jan 14, 2011

Customer Ratings