Monday, April 20, 2009

Songs to Obsess Over, Case File #2: The Decemberists - "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid"

They seem at home here, don't they? | Photo by Autumn DeWilde
It's almost halfway through 2009 and The Decemberists have runaway with my favorite album of the year. Their folk-rock opera The Hazards of Love runs the gamut from country twang to metal riffs while telling its tale, which involves a rake, an evil forest queen, a charming girl named Margaret, some dead children, and an ill-fated hero. As I said in my bit for the Internal Debate at Stereo Subversion on this album, it feels like the album The Decemberists were destined to make.

The best track on this album, though, is easily the 6:26 epic "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid". The pivot point of the narrative, where the plot goes from sleepy fairytale love story to complicated disaster, "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid" is a dialogue between the hero, sung by Decemberists ringleader Colin Meloy, and the forest queen, sung by Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond). Part folk ballad, part metal bombast the track tugs between the two moods with suspense that heightens down to the last second. Arcade Fire approved "Oooohs" and supreme vocal performances are only part of the over-the-top, sonically delicious madness that ensues here. The entire album is superb from start to finish, but this is the track that really holds everything together.

In other Decemberists news, Meloy will be back on The Colbert Report for a remach April 27th. Too much awesomeness in one show! My TV may implode.

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