The Crane Wife

May 15, 2007 | Format: MP3

Also available in CD Format
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: May 15, 2007
  • Release Date: May 15, 2007
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Copyright: (C) 2007 Capitol Records, Inc.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:09:35
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000T2IOLG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Trust me when I say that this album (and the Decemberists) is the most genius thing right now in music.
The Decemberists employ unique lyrics and beautiful music to make memorable tunes, very similar to what I find appealing about Death Cab for Cutie.
T. Kupferer
It's really the only time that the album dies down for an entire track, but it is still a really great song.
Cale E. Reneau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Cale E. Reneau on October 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Decemberists' fourth full-length album, and their first for a major record label, is, in my opinion, their best album to date. What's great about "The Crane Wife" is that it has a major record label sound without sacrificing the style that made The Decemberists the great, unique band that they are.

The album begins slowly, with the haunting acoustic ballad turned full-speed solemn sing-along, "The Crane Wife, Pt. 3." The song is classic Decemberists, but accessible enough that you'll undoubtedly find yourself singing "I will hang my head, hang my head low" with Colin, even if it's only your first time listening to the song. It's a great lead-off track, and really builds the momentum that lasts through most of the album. That momentum runs head-on into "The Island," a three-part 12 1/2 minute epic that instantly captivating and enjoyable.

"Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)" is one of my favorite tracks on the album, as it features a beautiful duet between Colin and Laura Veirs. Of course, when I say beautiful, I'm not speaking of an R&B/Whitney Houston type of duet. Despite what many will undoubtedly say of them, The Decemberists have not "sold out" on this album. They've simply refined their sound, and made it more pleasant, with the help of Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, who serves as producer on this album. But I digress...

Moving along, the next two tracks on the album have a great chance of launching The Decemberists into levels of fame that they have not yet experienced. The first of these, "O Valencia!" is an upbeat, love song that features a nice Meloyian twist. Colin laments "O Valencia with your blood still warm on the ground, Valencia! And I swear to the stars I'll burn this whole city down!
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The Decemberists make that riskiest of leaps in "The Crane Wife" -- to a major label, away from Kill Rock Stars. Hopefully that will get this beloved indie band the attention they deserve.

But a major label jump doesn't matter if the end product isn't good. And the Decemberists' fourth full-length album not only preserves their melodious sea-chanty sound, but it is also probably the best work this band has ever done, topping their previous album "Picaresque." From start to finish, this music is warm and enchantingly imaginative.

"And under the boughs unbound/All clothed in a snowy shroud/She had no heart so hardened/All under the boughs unbound," Colin Meloy murmurs in the opening song. The wintry lyrics make a stark contrast to the strummy little tune, fleshed out with intermittent piano. It's catchy and melodious, but much in the way that their previous songs were.

It's a good song, and a solid introduction to a string of similarly good songs, like the folky "Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)," rollicking acoustic marches, and dreamy nautical-summer ballads. The Decemberists also dabble a bit in rock in the middle of the album, like the fast-moving riffs of "Perfect Crime #2," before switching back to familiar territory.

The Decemberists started off being good, but rapidly ascended to indie-rock greatness as they grew into their sound and made it more robust. "The Crane Wife" is just the natural progression of that, and it's hard to see how anyone could not like these jolly, catchy songs, with the charming lyrics and poignant imagery. Well, maybe if you don't like the sea.

They take some musical risks as well, with two songs clocking in at over ten minutes apiece.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wheelchair Assassin on February 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I haven't heard any of the Decemberists' previous albums all the way through, so I'm not prepared to debate how The Crane Wife stacks up to any of them. What I can say, though, is that this is one enjoyably bizarre and quirky listen. These guys didn't leave anything on the field for their major-label debut--this is about as ambitious an album as you'll hear from a band with corporate backing. The band draws from an expansive range of seemingly disparate influences and incorporate all kinds of non-rock instrumentation (just check out the liner notes and see who plays what), and though not everything works equally well the overall result never fails to be distinctive or interesting. I've heard very few bands that could bring together so many different elements and make them all fit together into catchy, highly accessible songs. Their eclectic approach and occasionally daunting song lengths will probably prevent these guys from ever attaining "Indie Band Everybody Likes" status like the Shins, but it should be just the thing for those seeking something outside the indie-music norm.

For the most part, the album sees relatively straightforward, foot-tapping pop tunes splitting time with more spacious, epic balladry, all of it highlighted by Colin Meloy's emotive brogue and intricate arrangements underlain by the rock-solid drumming of John Moen. The highly poetic lyrics, which often seem taken from an anthology of 19th-century Irish literature, deal heavily with themes of love, loss, and misfortune, but with none of the triteness or sap that so frequently accompany such subjects.
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