The New Classics

January 16, 2009

New Music: The Decemberists, The Rake’s Song

Filed under: Download, Indie Rock, Song — Tags: , — Greg @ 7:16 pm


Song: The Rake’s Song
Artist: The Decemberists
Album: The Hazards of Love
Label: Columbia Records
Notes: 1st single from LP

Analysis: The rake that is referred to in the song’s title is not a backyard gardening tool. A rake is defined as a person “habituated to immoral conduct”, and immoral is a pretty good word to describe the story that singer Colin Meloy describes. It is important to separate Colin from the singer and the character in the song, because I seriously doubt that he is singing about an actual event that he was a part of. In short, the narrator (the rake) marries young, has a wife that dies from childbirth on their fourth child, and then kills his other three children to continue on with his life free of burdens. It’s a pretty brutal-sounding story, but if you weren’t paying attention to the lyrics, you would be captivated by the clobbering drums and probably singing along to all of the “alright”s that amplify the tune. Meloy sings with such a coldness that some parts could send shivers down your spine, like his nonchalance at his dastardly deeds at the end of the song: (expect that you think that I should be haunted / but it never really bothers me). I’m under the impression that The Hazards of Love is going to be a huge narrative LP, and ‘The Rake’s Song’ is just one piece of the bigger story. I’ll be looking forward to the rest.
Rating: 7.0
Source: Stereogum


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