Virtual Bourgeois

Just An Analog Guy Trying to Upgrade For a Digital World

The Crane Wife

Posted by Gerald on December 22, 2007

My friend Steve over at Semeiotikos has posted his list of best albums of 2007.  I don’t follow music the way he does so I’m not going to try to do the same, but when I think of the events of this year I think there will be one album I will associate with 2007 – The Crane Wife by The Decemberists.

This album was released last year, but I didn’t discover it until this year – when Steve loaned it to me.  I’ve rarely had someone make such an accurate assessment of my musical tastes.  I had only heard of the Decemberists via Steve and from the running gag on the Colbert Report.  After listening to The Crane Wife I started downloading everything from the band that I could.

I’ve played this album with an obsessiveness I haven’t experienced since 1985 and REM’s Fables of the Reconstruction.  Because of this I was usually playing this album in the car on my way to and/or from almost every significant experience I’ve had this year.  It has been on in my house almost every weekend.  The biggest exception would be the recent trip to New Orleans.  I still haven’t bought an mp3 player so my music didn’t make the trip with me.

I’ve liked all of the music I’ve gotten from The Decemberists, but I keep coming back to The Crane Wife.  I really do not have the vocabulary to explain what it is I like about their music save to say that I’ve always been drawn to rock with a strong folk element or folk with a strong rock element.  I love the music, but I am even more taken with the lyrics.  The songs reference Japanese folk tales, Shakespeare, and the American Civil War (among other things).  There are vivid images and strange juxtapositions everywhere.  The language tastes rich and full.  I guess that is what I’ve loved the most about discovering this band.  When so much of the music around me seems to be a giant Slurpee, this is a pewter goblet filled with mulled wine and unusual spices.  If you haven’t discovered this band, and particularly this album, I encourage you to do so.

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3 Responses to “The Crane Wife”

  1. Steve said

    Well, that settles it. When those bastards go back on tour (they’re doing a stint in the northwest right now and plan to be back on the road soon) we’re going.

  2. bridgett said

    That makes two people whose ears I trust raving about this band. I have heard cuts, but I guess I will have to listen to the whole thing.

  3. Gerald said

    This is one of those rarities of the new digital downloading age – it is an album. There are recurring themes and the cuts play into one another. Do check it out.

    And Steve – damn right! Next time we don’t allow them to cancel out from under us.

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