The Decemberists have shared the first song from their new Tucker Martine-produced album, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, which was teased a few weeks ago when lead singer and songwriter Colin Meloy busked on a corner in Williamsburg. It’s called “Make You Better” and you can listen to it in the visualizer (directed by Anthem Films) below.
A press release describes recording sessions that began in May 2013 and how the album title was inspired by the aftermath of the Newtown school shootings:
The first songs were highly personal, a change from the strong narrative thrust that has characterized much of The Decemberists’ work. “Having a family, having kids, having this career, getting older – all of these things have made me look more inward,” says Meloy.
These reflections come to the foreground in “12/17/12,” a song he wrote after watching President Obama address the nation following the Newtown school shootings. “I was hit by a sense of helplessness, but also the message of ‘Hold your family close,'” recalls Meloy. This bewildering, conflicted feeling came out in a phrase near the end of the song – “what a terrible world, what a beautiful world”—that gave the album its title.
01 “The Singer Addresses His Audience”
02 “Cavalry Captain”
04 “Make You Better”
05 “Lake Song”
06 “Till The Water Is All Long Gone”
07 “The Wrong Year”
08 “Carolina Low”
09 “Better Not Wake The Baby”
11 “Easy Come, Easy Go”
14 “A Beginning Song”
2/11 Dublin, Ireland Vicar Street
2/13 Glasgow, UK O2 Academy Glasgow
2/14 Leeds, UK O2 Academy Leeds
2/16 Bristol, UK O2 Academy Bristol
2/17 Manchester, UK Manchester Academy
2/18 Birmingham, UK The Institute
2/20 Brighton, UK Brighton Dome Concert Hall
2/21 London, UK O2 Academy Brixton
2/23 Amsterdam, Netherlands Paradiso
2/24 Brussels, Belgium AB
2/25 Nijmegen, Netherlands Doornroosje
2/26 Berlin, Germany Astra Kulturhaus
2/28 Zürich, Switzerland Kaufleuten
3/01 Milan, Italy Magazzini Generali
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World is out 1/19 via Rough Trade in Europe and 1/20 via Capitol in the U.S. A pre-order is up now at decemberists.com. A limited edition autographed box set ($89.98) contains 180G double vinyl (with laser etching on side 4), 3 lithograph art prints, a 14″x20″ Masonic banner, 5 patches, the digital album, a t-shirt designed by Carson Ellis, and a chance to win a one-of-a-kind Decemberists quilt.