Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Musicalists of Love

So as regular readers know, I have no shame in admitting my love for all things pop, and the cheesier the better. But once in a while, I still enjoy my indie-emo-alt-folk-rock stuff (I'm still a big fan of The Stills). You also know I'm big on the musicals.

I've been checking out The Decemberists new album The Hazards of Love which is the indie band's ambitious new album which has more of a musical/opera concept, with a thread of a storyline running through the whole alt-rock album.

I love this ambitious concept and because The Decemberists is a large group and with some guest vocalists, they have enough different voices to carry through the different characters, and it really does sound like a musical, albeit a very moody emo folksy one (think back to Duncan Sheik's earlier albums before he decided to go Broadway with my fave Spring Awakening). And with rock albums going Broadway (including Green Day bringing their American Idiot to the stage later this year), it's not completely unheard of now.

Though I will say, after a few listens, while The Hazards of Love definitely has its earthy and quirky charms, with a moody tonal sound, it somehow reminded me most of most famous of rock opera's, The Who's Tommy (which eventually became a successful Broadway show based on the initial rock album).

And while some people tend to complain some albums sound all the same, a musical tends to work best when melodic themes are carried through, and frontman Colin Meloy manages to make the whole album flow with familiar themes and several variations of the terrific title song "The Hazards of Love". Yet each song, with different voices, can still become their own song.

The story is described as "The Hazards of Love (produced by Tucker Martine) tells the tale of a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake". To be honest, I've never been a lyric person, and rarely pay much attention and listen mainly for melodies (even when I'm watching musicals) so I can't say I fully understood the story while I was listening to the album, but each song, and some of the lovely voices (like Becky Stark as Margaret on "Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)").

I will admit though that while the album is intended to be heard as a whole, I can't do the whole thing in one sitting. It's too much (plus I'm from the A.D.D./iTunes singles generation so my attention span is completely shot) for me, plus it's definitely an album that grows on you with further listens, but the more I hear The Hazards of Love, the more I want to hear it.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I'm quite the Decemberists fan too. It's not surprising that they've gone for the rock opera format. Their previous albums that I've heard always had running themes through them and so many of their songs are story-like.

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