Magazine article U.S. Catholic

What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

Article excerpt

WHAT A TERRIBLE WORLD, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD The Decemberists (Capitol, 2015)

There's something quaint about the Decemberists' lead singer, Colin Meloy. He's a guy who writes sea shanties, who uses words like "dirigible," and whose music could be the backdrop of a Charles Dickens novel. And yet, the Decemberists are current enough to have a playful "feud" with Stephen Colbert and a reference to Axe shampoo in this, their latest album.

While these historical and modern worlds shouldn't blend this well, they do in the river of talent and certainty that is the Decemberists. In What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, they continue to do what they do best: spin old-timey lyrics and instrumentals around modern ideas and concerns.

In the opening song, "The Singer Addresses His Audience," Meloy addresses the tendency to turn musicians into idols. In interviews, he has discussed the "weird captive ownership" of fans over artists and how change is always accompanied by the fear of losing fans. …

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