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Decemberists, The - The Hazards of Love Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 9.5
Production 9
Creativity 10
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 92%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.44
Musicianship 8.83
Lyrics 9.39
Production 9.36
Creativity 9.25
Lasting Value 8.61
Reviewer Tilt 9.61
Average: 92%
Inside AP.net

Decemberists, The - The Hazards of Love

Reviewed by: Travis Parno (03/19/09)
The DecemberistsThe Hazards of Love
Record Label: Capitol
Release Date: March 17, 2009

This is the stuff of which legends are made.

It’s been three years since The Crane Wife was born, an album that topped charts and lists galore. Faced with the task of besting their best tracks, The Decemberists wove an epic tale. The Hazards of Love is classically told, complete with rakes and royals and rivers. Also classic are its artful sources. Citing artists from Zepplin to Anne Briggs, songsmith Colin Meloy set out to craft, in the manner of both metal and folk, a seamless narrative in vintage form. The result should only be heard in full – no singles will adorn radio waves. Much like a dusty book or manuscript, skipping around only ends in parts missed.

The winding story follows Margaret, a young and comely charitable girl, through her pursuit of love and all its woes. The subject of her ardor is William, a creature of the woods who shifts his shape. But the forest’s queen vexes their union, for William is her lone adopted son. She grants them one night of communal bliss, but then the boy must return to her side. No sooner do the star-eyed lovers part, then Margaret is captured by a rake. I’ll not ruin the ending of the yarn, but let’s just say the hazards are not few.

Throughout the length of the seventeen tunes, the adventure is folded in with grace. Meloy’s clever songwriting ably works, using musical themes and common riffs, to blend the music into the drama, tenderly suturing scenes end-to-end. For instance four title tracks can be found, each its own piece but writ in kindred strokes. Elsewhere melodies arc from song to song, binding the cast members to their motifs. What are more impressive are the keen moods. The instruments have voices of their own, building backbones of brilliant character. The organs hum in anticipation, the guitars crash with violent reproach, and the accordions wail wistfully. Within each chord the fable’s heart beats hale; the pulse will easily draw you inside.

Just like The Crane Wife did three years ago, this album will no doubt rise to the top. The Decemberists are a band of bards; this is the chance to crawl inside their minds. They’ve forged an intricately deep journey, one filled with intrigue and raw emotion. And though the road may be both dark and long, such are the trials and hazards of love.

Track List1. Prelude
2. The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
3. A Bower Scene
4. Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
5. The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
6. The Queen’s Approach
7. Isn’t It a Lovely Night
8. The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid
9. An Interlude
10. The Rake’s Song
11. The Abduction of Margaret
12. The Queen’s Rebuke/The Crossing
13. Annan Water
14. Margaret in Captivity
15. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
16. The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
17. The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

Give it a try if you like…Fairport Convention; Led Zepplin’s IV; Anne Briggs; Dark Dark Dark

Hear it on the internetzOfficial Myspace | Official Website
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 50
01:52 PM on 03/19/09
You need human heat
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owiseone35's Avatar
Thank you for reviewing this I absolutely adore this record. Top 5 AOTY worthy for sure.
02:20 PM on 03/19/09
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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Blake Solomon's Avatar
hahaha, wow, you weren't kidding about the iambic pentameter. Awesome.
02:35 PM on 03/19/09
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MyWorldEntire's Avatar
great great album
03:26 PM on 03/19/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Gregory Robson's Avatar
The wordsmiths of the world have just fainted. That....was.....something!
Freaking awesome dude.
As for the album, I'm having trouble loving it. I think it needs to grow on me. Right now I marginally hate it.
03:36 PM on 03/19/09
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zFrog's Avatar
Completely agree with this review, love this record
03:46 PM on 03/19/09
Feenay! Fee hee hee hee heenay!
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live.'s Avatar
Arguably one of the best pieces of writing I've ever seen on this site. Kudos!
06:37 PM on 03/19/09
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alltimecam's Avatar
Oops I downloaded the hazards of love IV and the abduction of margaret, I guess I'm missing the story
07:47 PM on 03/19/09
the enemy is everywhere
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threepunchjim's Avatar
Haha I've been so excited for you guys to post this review! I figured it was either going to be an AP darling or panned by the staff gods. Glad to you see you love it like I do!

Also, your review is very well written. I found it to be remarkably pointed and concise. Also, you did well to address fans of the previous album without muddling your focus by diverting yourself completely to prior discography. It serves as a great hook to draw readers into your review. Lastly, your vocabulary reflects the writing style of the band, so it's impressively evident that you truly immersed yourself in the work before writing. Haha, not that it matters, but you really floored me with your review.
06:15 AM on 03/20/09
Yea, you were right about me
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trappedintime's Avatar
Sounds intriguing. I'm interested. I might go get this.
06:54 AM on 03/20/09
Regular Member
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controlyourself's Avatar
What a wonderfully poetic review to match the storytelling of The Decemberists :)
07:12 AM on 03/20/09
In December, drinkin' Horchata
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SwishMX48's Avatar
I need to get this ASAP
07:14 AM on 03/20/09
Lovely, don't you ever change.
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No Avatar Selected
Thank god it got a good review here. I read the ew review, who i normally trust, and they gave it an aweful one. I was so scared the ablum really might be bad. That would have ruined my year.
07:16 AM on 03/20/09
Registered User
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forg3tmyname's Avatar
The first time I listened to this album, I hated it.
The second time, I started to get what the band was going for.
The third time, I realized this is one of the most unique, enjoyable albums I have heard in a long time.
Excellent review! Definitely give this album a few listens.
07:31 AM on 03/20/09
The Personist
http://davidwpritchard.tumblr.co m
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The Personist's Avatar
This review was masterful.

I hope the album stands up to the craft with which it was praised. Well done, sir.
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