Recently the Decemberists have issued three volumes of Always The Bridesmaid singles collections and been anachronistically featured in a Mad Men opening sequence, but now it’s all about their Hazards Of Love. And it’s got the sort of parenthetically inclined, waterlogged tracklist you’d expect to come from Colin’s quill. Examples include “Annan Water,” “Won’t Want For Love (Margaret In The Taiga),” “The Hazards Of Love 4 (The Drowned),” and most excellently, “Hazards Of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone).” A true friend to writers with wordcounts, this guy. Here’s the rundown in 17 track titles featuring lots and lots of syllables:

01 “Prelude”
02 “Hazards Of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)”
03 “A Bower Scene”
04 “Won’t Want For Love (Margaret In The Taiga)”
05 “Hazards Of Love 2 (Wager All)”
06 “The Queen’s Approach”
07 “Isn’t It A Lovely Night?”
08 “The Wanting Comes In Waves / Repaid”
09 “An Interlude”
10 “The Rake’s Song”
11 “The Abduction Of Margaret”
12 “The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing”
13 “Annan Water”
14 “Margaret In Captivity”
15 “Hazards Of Love 3 (Revenge!)”
16 “The Wanting Comes In Waves” (Reprise)
17 “The Hazards Of Love 4 (The Drowned)”
(via Billboard)

Keep ears out for guest contributions from Jim James, Robyn Hitchcock, the Spinanes’ Rebecca Gates, Ms. Lavendar Diamond Becky Stark, and Ms. My Brightest Diamond Shara Worden. It’s out 3/24 via Capitol.

Comments (16)
  1. FBC  |   Posted on Dec 10th, 2008 0

    Not sure how crazy I am about the whole concept album thing. I mean, The Crane Wife was alright but that was kind of a half-assed concept album. Their best albums are still Castaways & Cutouts and Picaresque, where each song tells a different story, and their more conceptual stuff has always been a bit weaker in my opinion. Nevertheless, there has yet to be a Decemberists album I haven’t enjoyed.

  2. so, this will be out next week?

  3. massromantic  |   Posted on Dec 10th, 2008 0

    ANOTHER concept album? Oh Colin…
    I’m in love with 5 Songs. Castaways & Cutouts was so good. Her Majesty was equally wonderful. Picaresque was one of the most incredible albums I’ve ever heard. Crane Wife was my least favourite of the whole group. If this album is going to be Crane Wife 2, I’ll be heartbroken.

  4. zayin_451  |   Posted on Dec 10th, 2008 0

    I don’t get why everyone thinks “The Crane Wife” was a concept album anymore than “Picaresque” or “Her Majesty”, or “Castaways & Cutouts”. “Crane Wife” mixed Oriental fables with songs about modern day gang fights and old fashioned heist balads and the siege of Babylon. How is that a concept album? And how is that any difference from all of their other albums subject matter?

  5. I don’t know about everybody else, but I love the concept of ummm…concept albums. I hope there are more of those. Otherwise – boring (*yawn*). Plus, I am sick of this “short attention span hence no concept albums” talk!

  6. seth  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    i’m hoping the decemberists become so complicated and their songs so interlinked that eventually colin will just say “fuck it” and record another her majesty. boy do i love her majesty.

  7. lone highlight so far: jim james.

    • Kozy  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

      I weep for you.

      • my Rx to you: less japanese fables and more soul, pal.

        • Kozy  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

          I’ll take the Japanese fables over the travesty that is Evil Urges anyday. Give me Band Of Horses, you keep your MMJ. Z was over-rated too. As far as I’m concerned the Shara Worden inclusion is awesome. That’s as good as the news about Sam Beam producing Rosie Thomas’ next album. Now there’s some soul.

  8. dannygutters  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    The decemberists have great press photos

  9. Johnny Reb  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    God I hate English majors.


    An English major

  10. There is nary an artist for whose music my blood does rise more profusely than The Decemberists. I fully anticipate another masterpiece. 2009 is going to be a good year. In other words, a year with a new Decemberists’ album is a good one. From the songs I’ve heard Colin play live (Hazards of Love 1 and maybe 2, Hazards of Love 4, and The Rake’s song), I have yet to be disappointed.

    In response to previous musings about their prior discography, I understand the gripes about The Crane Wife. I don’t have a problem with the content; I think that is great. Japanese folktales make far more interesting subject matter for songs than garden variety relationship related songs… But I do hope that on this new record they avoid missteps like “The Perfect Crime #2″ and “When The War Came.” I know they were trying something different, but I hope their creative forays come to more satisfying fruition on Hazards of Love. Nevertheless, The Crane Wife makes up for these problems with The Crane Wife series, O Valencia!, Yankee Bayonet, Sons and Daughters, etc., not to mention The Island! The previous albums I love perhaps more, but ragging on The Crane Wife for being a concept album seems a little close minded..

  11. It’s great, for me it’s the album the Decemberists have been threatening to make. I’ve listened to the ‘preview’ at least 6 times through and had no hesitation in ordering the CD from Amazon. In the modern age that’s high praise! I’m often critical of productions (that indefinable sound quality thing) but this is just perfect. Everything is clear. There is real drama, as befits a rock opera or whatever it is. The guest vocals from Becky Start and Shara Worden (wow, instantly recognisable!) are both superb.

    Points of reference: A heavy Fairport Convention, with an occasional Led Zappelin stomp. Becky and Shara between the definitely conjure up a Sandy Denny vibe, the former sensitive, the latter brilliantly dramatic. That the whole 60 minutes is sequenced without a pause is awesome.

    If this was released in the 70′s, every student hall in the land would be echoing with this.

  12. Emily LeChat  |   Posted on May 25th, 2009 0

    Everything else out there is pink noise. Music that actually engages you and makes you pay it some attention; this stuff is remarkable, and not just because of Colin. The Beatles had George Harrison et al and Fleetwood Mac was a musical symbiosis too. Blink and you’ll miss the magic and you’ll be waiting a long time for the next comparable ensemble to come along. This phenomenon resides above the ether of criticism.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2