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Showing 1-10 of 10 reviews(2 star). See all 213 reviews
on May 14, 2017
I can't remember when I was more disappointed in a new vinyl purchase. The copy I received has a visible "dip" in the pressing that runs the entire width of the album. I didn't notice it until I played the record. When the needle passes through this dip I can hear an audible "thump" coming through speakers. Imagine trying to enjoy one of your favorite records with a low frequency thump mixed into it 33 times a minute.
For the audiophiles reading this: You'll probably want to pass on this one. It's nice heavy (180g) pressing but over and above the previously noted quality issues, this record is very digital sounding .. with no dynamic range. It actually sounds sort of mono. Any streamed or downloaded version you have listened to will sound as good or better.
Apparently Amazon does not accept returns on records .. who knew .. there's nothing to indicate that in the listing. I'll be buying from dedicated record dealers from now on.
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on March 29, 2017
Was scratched when I opened it,very disappointed.
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on December 4, 2012
Why do people call this kind of music "rock?" This is country (My idea of country is shake-tunes and British prison songs, so maybe I'm not the best judge of this Nashville-decended stuff). Get it if you like soft rock/country fusion. Good production values, if you do.
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on October 6, 2011
I'm disappointed. Their unique mix of different genres of music (Rock, Contemporary, Country and sometimes Medieval) made them my favorite band in the whole world. Here in "The King Is Dead" you'll find nothing but country songs, except for "This Is Why We Fight" which feels like a leftover song from a previous album! If you're new to them, please don't give up on them and listen to their "Hazards of Love" & "Castaways and Cutouts" albums.
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on January 21, 2011
How the mighty have fallen. I started listening to The Decemberists when The Crane Wife came out and immediately dove into their back catalog, enjoying Picaresque, Castaways/Cutouts, and The Tain dozens of times. (Her Majesty was good, but not my favorite.)

This newest album is the most disappointing and unremarkable Decemberists album yet. While the lyrics retain some of the complexity that you'd expect from the band, the music itself sounds like average folksy/country rock. There wasn't a single track that arrested me like "The Island" or "The Infanta" or "The Mariner's Revenge Song" The most any song on this album did was elicit some tapping feet.

If you buy this expecting some refreshing and interesting music, you'll be disappointed. It's formulaic and, for lack of a better word, "boring."
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on June 15, 2013
I really couldn't get into this album. I had some issues getting into The Hazards of Love, too, but a few instances of some of the songs randomly playing made me listen through it in the proper order (I originally didn't realize it was meant to be listened in order) made me fall in love. This was not the case with this album. Almost every song makes me cringe and wonder what the hell they were thinking. This album is just a whole lot of 'no'.
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on February 15, 2011
When I first listened to this album I was working and when the album ended I was surprised because I thought it was just the first song. They had all blended together to me because they sounded so similar. Their attempt at mellow country just caused their songs to sound identical to me and non descript. Almost the sound of mediocrity.

When I listen to The Decemberist I expect something different, unusual, exciting, and fun. I also expect a story, preferably one that took place long ago. But I listened to their interview on NPR last night and the interviewer said he didn't hear an over arching theme as in other albums, but Colin Meloy said they actually thought long and hard about it and worked to incorporate it. But like the interviewer I didn't hear any.

I am glad they tried something new, and I'm also glad many people enjoy the album, but I sincerely hope they return to their style that I loved in their previous albums.
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on February 7, 2011
To echo another reviewer on Amazon (who gave this album five stars), the "King is Dead" reminds me why I loved the last two Decemberists releases so much. Why? Because I love ten minute songs that some would dare call suites. I love convoluted concept albums about talking deer and evil Queens and the ghost of dead children haunting a rakish villain. I love 18th century references and eastern myths turned into three part epics and hearing words I would never hear in any other song from any other band. I love bands that indulge their every whim and deliver the album they want to make, darn the consequences.
Listening to this, I don't hear any of the above. Yes, the lyrics are still some of the smartest around, but in this case, the intelligence is a by-product of the lyricist's vocabulary, not an intentional swing for the literary bleachers. If I had to describe this album, I would call it "folk country with a slightly mythical tinge", which really means nothing other than the fact that it's mostly acoustic, mostly mid-tempo, and mostly about melancholy days and melancholy love. Even the potentially intriguing "Calamity Song"- ooh, what calamity?- is about a dream. Sigh.
This album never comes close to rocking, and I must admit, I love when the Decemberists rock out. Every time the Queen showed up on "Hazards of Love"? I got chills; and I get giddy when I hear their King-Crimson slosh stomp on "The Island".
This album calmed me, soothed me, put me to sleep. For what it is- acoustic folk pop songs- it is good. That is not what I wanted from this band at this point, however, so I am disappointed. You may love it, I don't know. Be warned, however, if you are expecting anything similar to the last two albums.
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on March 14, 2011
I really had high hopes for this album. I liked Crane Wife and I loved Hazards of Love. I really thought they were on to something, but The Decemberists definitely dropped the ball on this one. There are a couple good tracks on the album (Rise to Me & Down by the Water), but I have to ask, what is with all the harmonica? Seriously, do people enjoy listening to the obnoxious shrill of that horrifying instrument? I guess it's back to Hazards of Love until the Decemberists decide to pull their heads out of their asses.
Yours hopeful but totally disappointed,
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on January 20, 2011
The word I would use to describe this album is...disappointing. Every song on the album follows a very predictable country/folk formula. There is not a single moment on The King Is Dead that made me sit up and take notice. They didn't take any chances, which is especially disappointing considering how wonderfully varied their last album was. The Hazards Of Love is a fantastic album - a great mix of folk, indie, and somewhat hard rock mixed with some very memorable lyrics. The King Is Dead has no such variety. The lyrics are fairly bland and the tone and tempo of each song is fairly constant throughout. It reminds me a lot of the album April by VAST, which like The King Is Dead took a strong turn from previous albums to the chagrin of many fans. Judging by the lead singer's own comments I suspect the next Decemberists album will have a bit more bite. Until then, I can only recommend this album for country or bluegrass fans who want something light to listen to. Fans of The Hazards Of Love and/or those who like music that isn't so straightforward should stay away. My copy of this album will wind up in my local library's donation pile in the near future. That is too bad. After their last two albums I really thought I'd be a Decemberists fan for life. Now I am not so sure.
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