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The Decemberists - Her Majesty CD (album) cover

HER MAJESTY

The Decemberists

 

Prog Folk

3.09 | 46 ratings

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horsewithteeth11
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 2 steps forward and 3 steps backwards.

That's pretty much how I sum up the second album from The Decemberists. Their debut is a fantastic piece of music and one that I think quite highly of. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for this album. The main issue is that some of the songs here really like any punch or energy to them. Whenever I finish listening to Her Majesty, I have a hard time remembering what the individual tracks sound like. They always seem to come and go in a blur. It also seems like every song on here sounds pretty similar. There's not the kind of variation that is present from their debut. Many of them follow the generic formula of a slow, quiet buildup at the beginning, a slightly more energetic (but not much more) and catchy chorus before moving back to near silent verses in the same pattern over and over again. While Colin Meloy is one of my favorite modern vocalists, they seem to be pushed forward more in this album. It almost feels like he was deliberately trying to make a more commercial album. And while I wouldn't mind this if the music was good, it's not. The production makes it sound like the instruments were all masked out slightly. So instead of offering the one-two punch with Meloy's vocals, this album swings and misses fairly often.

Despite my negative criticism, this is far from being a bad album. Hardcore fans of the band will find enough here to please them, but casual ones should stay away from this one. Flirting in between 2 and 3 stars, there's not quite enough for me to warrant a 2 star rating. Some of the songs, like the two main ballads in "The Gymnast, High above the Ground" and "I Was Meant for the Stage" as well as the humorous "Billy Liar", are fairly memorable. Most of the other songs past by in a flicker though. 3 stars for this being a fairly average outing by The Decemberists' standards. If you're looking into the band, this should be the last release you acquire.

horsewithteeth11 | 3/5 |

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