The Crane Wife
2006: Capitol Records CDP 0946 3 53984 2 7
Is it great? Nah way too contrived, too derivative, and theres the issue of those accents of quite dubious origin. Is it good? Oh yeah downright lovely at times, really really lovely. I guess it comes down to the question of how much counterfeiting you can stomach compared to the payoff. Theres a lot of borrowed style heremy first thought on hearing The Island was wow good thing for the Decemberists that Wings didnt copyright their sound as well as of lyrical matter (leaving the whole Crane Wife tale aside, it occurred to me that The Perfect Crime might well refer to that of plagiarism, with Kate Bushs There Goes a Tenner all too obviously in mind).
But oh, OH! is it fun to listen to, if you can distance yourself from its questionable provenance and various online hypes/detractions. The Landlords Daughter, When the War Came, The Island, and Sons & Daughters are the ones I enjoy most (which is not to say theyre good, I just enjoy them) and in the case of When the War Came, if it is indeed about the Siege of Leningrad in World War II, well, hurrah for the Decemberists for commemorating it, because I dont know of any other non-Soviet song tribute to it (and it certainly deserves several), even if this one isnt exactly a flattering memorial to the ordeal (as it rather deals with a scientific purism which looked to the big picture while failing short-term needs of terrible consequence).
As for Sons and Daughters, which is undeniably catchy and optimistic in its rise up from the bunkers lyrical gist and melodic lilt, what the hell are lame lets-rhyme-something-with-X lines like well fill our mouths with cinnamon doing there but squandering magnificent opportunities? Oy!!
Comments © 2007 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.