Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2006 : 20-23 Aught Music Roundtable: The Crane Wife by The Decemberists

Roundtable Part One: "Sons & Daughters"

With this track, three simple adjectives sum it up quite well: moving, simple, and beautiful. Given the winding story arcs and characters featured on the rest of the album, it's amazing that it ends on such a small treasure.
When we arrive, sons & daughters
We'll make our homes on the water
We'll build our walls with aluminum
We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon.

Personally, I'll always hold this song very close. When The Crane Wife was released, my eldest brother was serving his second tour in the Iraq War. For varying reasons, I was much more scared and despondent during that second year, as if the reality of it all had truly hit me. Many a night, I was moved to tears by the closing lines:

Here all the bombs fade away,
Here all the bombs fade away.

He returned home safely, and that Christmas, I put "Sons & Daughters" as the final song on a mix CD that I made for him. I've never explained this significance to anyone until now.

Jamie Yates

Roundtable Part Two: "O Valencia!" (First Pass)

Yes, this story line has been done a million and one times, spanning every medium, and most well known from "Romeo and Juliet" and "West Side Story." So on, so forth, etc. Two lovers find themselves carrying on a secret tryst under the noses of their warring families. However, as familiar as this is, it's hard to listen to it and not root for the lovers to live happily every after, even if it's an obvious lost cause.

All I heard was the shout
Of your brother calling me out
And you ran like a fool to my side.

Both in this song and the official music video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbsHwuyfnnw), the Decemberists do their usual job of taking a subject steeped in history and nostalgia and giving it a modern spin. It's not nearly as inventive as what they're capable of, but it's a great listen.

Jamie Yates

Roundtable Part Three: "O Valencia!" (Second Pass)

This is not my favorite Decemberists song, but I love the video. It is something truely worth watching. I know other people don't like it, but it is great. I love that they make Colin Meloy look so tough. The video makes the song better. That is what I am looking for.

Rich Thomas

Listen: The Decemberists >> "Sons & Daughters | "O! Valencia"

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