What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists
Oh how the mighty have fallen. From #2 in 2009, to #3 in 2011, and now all the way down to #18 for this year’s Top 31, The Decemberists are still great amongst most of the music being produced today. But compared to themselves, they’ve done better.
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World has some fantastic moments, and some great music videos that go along with them. And I’ve posted about all of them over the past year. Check out the video for “Make You Better,” starring Nick Offerman; or “Cavalry Captain,” which was a video, a phone number to call, and a few other odd turns, all used to promote the off-shoot EP Florasongs, which also came out in October of this year; or the cream of the crop, “A Beginning Song,” as a simple lyric video, downplaying the visuals to allow the beauty of the music to shine through.
Thanks to all those earlier posts, and for lack of a new music videos to post, I’ve instead placed a strange video from Jimmy Kimmel Live above (edit: apparently they took the video down, so instead I’ve put up a different video for your enjoyment), where the Decemberists performed a handful of off-the-cuff clips, words provided by YouTube comments. It’s quite funny at times, but the snark is heavy. The band is not new to snark, but the opening song to What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, “The Singer Addresses his Audience” is so snarky it almost spoiled the whole album for me. The song takes to task the super-fan, as well as any band that has to “sell out” to make a living. It’s the worst kind of hipster uppityness, and it’s unflattering.
Overall, there are many redeeming things about the album, if you’re able to get past the opener. Once a band gets to seven albums, you can’t expect that each new album will be better than the last. There will be lulls. And if your lull still puts you at #18 in the Top 31 (and the 2nd three-peat act this year), you’re still doing alright.
If you’re not yet familiar with The Decemberists, I suggest starting with literally any other album of theirs before diving into this one. But if you’ve liked The Decemberists in the past, I can say with confidence you’ll like this one, too. Give it a whirl.
19. Untethered Moon by Built to Spill
20. Viet Cong by Viet Cong
21. The Magic Whip by Blur
22. Savage Hills Ballroom by Youth Lagoon
23. Not Real by Stealing Sheep
24. Beat the Champ by The Mountain Goats
25. Gliss Riffer by Dan Deacon
26. Dark Bird is Home by The Tallest Man on Earth
27. Gunnera by Pfarmers
28. Swimmer to a Liquid Armchair by Ricked Wickey
29. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
30. Live in Seattle by Moufang / Czamanski
31. High by Royal Headache