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The Decemberists

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The Decemberists Always The Bridesmaid: Vol 3 album cover
3.06 | 6 ratings | 3 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Record Year for Rainfall
2. Raincoat Song

Line-up / Musicians

- Colin Meloy / singing, guitar
- Nate Query / upright bass, bowed bass
- Jenny Conlee / pump organ, piano
- Chris Funk / banjo, dobro
- John Moen / the drums, singing
- Amanda Lawrence / viola

Releases information

EP Jealous Butcher JB076

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
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Buy THE DECEMBERISTS Always The Bridesmaid: Vol 3 Music

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Tain/5 Songs [Vinyl]Tain/5 Songs [Vinyl]
Jealous Butcher 2004
$13.88 (used)

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THE DECEMBERISTS Always The Bridesmaid: Vol 3 ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE DECEMBERISTS Always The Bridesmaid: Vol 3 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars This is the third and final installment in the Decemberists’ 2008 ‘Always the Bridesmaid’ series of vinyl singles. Like the other two the songs on this one aren’t progressive by any stretch of the imagination, but they do demonstrate once again Colin Meloy’s uncanny ability to meld great lyric writing with ear- pleasing and melodic musical arrangements, resulting in a couple more reflective, appealing ditties that will undoubtedly show up in the band’s concert playlist from time to time.

Both of these tracks are centered on rain, and predictably the overall mood is fairly depressing. With “Record Year for Rainfall” we have an uncomfortable front-row seat during a sad, heartbreaking breakup that plays out on a dreary and rainy day. With Meloy metaphors always require some consideration though, and his references to the fall of the Roman Empire could also hint at the current state of the United States in some of the lyrics: “did it look this gray before the fall?”

Or maybe he’s just amusing himself at the listener’s expense once again.

“Raincoat Song” is quite similar but without the ambiguous sociopolitical nuances. In this one I suppose the raincoat being worn by the 28-year old woman (who is pondering the implications of becoming a spinster) represents shutting out the world by wrapping oneself in a protective shield of sorts. Bottom- line is the girl doesn’t have a guy and that seems to be a problem. Not exactly a new musical theme certainly, but Meloy and the band once again make an emotional connection with minor chords, awkwardly quiet vocals and their overall humane demeanor to yield another very good (albeit pop) tune.

This third single is the more difficult one to locate; it came out behind schedule and was never made available on Amazon to my knowledge. It can still be ordered in vinyl ‘hard copy’ from Jealous Butcher’s website, and I think at one time I heard you could get it on iTunes, but wouldn’t know personally.

Two stars for this one; not bad music at all for sure, I just can’t see recommending these songs to anyone but fans of the band and collectors in general.


Review by The Whistler
3 stars Now, perversely enough, if you were only going to own one single from the Always the Bridesmaid conundrum, this would be it. For the first time in the series, the band actually sounds like, you know The Decemberists, putting out clever, downbeat, introspective indie folk.

The best song is (surprise, surprise) the A-side, “Record Year for Rainfall.” Catchy chorus framed with epic leaning lyrics, underpinned by a bitchin’ cello line. Yeah. This IS the Decemberists after all. But if the first number got you down, “The Raincoat Song” is a downbeat/upbeat ballad that carries a unique heartwarming charm all of its own. The short length (just over two minutes) and stripped down production (bouncy folk guitar) make this one sound perfect for the “afterthought” songs that usually end the band’s main albums.

As I said, this is the Decemberists single to own from the series, for fans of the band’s folksier side at least. It’s also the first time that I’ve enjoyed both sides of one of these things fully. But honestly, why all the hub-bub, bub? Why not just release an EP called “Decemberists: The Middle Years,” and stick on “Valerie Plame,” the longer “Days of Elaine,” and then both of these numbers? Without the repetitive “O New England” and ill suited cover “I’m sticking With You,” most of the fat would be drained out of the singles. Who knows? It might be as good as 5 Songs, on a good day.

Review by Epignosis
4 stars "A Record Year for Rainfall" may be one of the best non-album songs from The Decemberists. It sets that despondent mood that this band is phenomenal at crafting while not giving too much away. Here Colin Meloy constructs a three-way metaphor regarding the fall of empires, the end of relationships, and the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Persephone. The mythological story is meant to explain the seasons, since Prosperina was destined to spend six months in the underworld with Pluto, and six months in the land of the living. Her mother Ceres (goddess of agriculture) would be depressed for six months without her, hence the gradual deterioration and gloom of fall and winter. The analogy here is that the guy and the girl can be together no longer, for whatever reason, but they had a good run while it lasted- a record year for rainfall, as it were. The resounding focus, however, is on the pain and melancholy that visits us all as that eventual end draws nigh. The music is grim but never rough, as is their wont to make amazing textures with layers of simple acoustic instruments. "Raincoat Song" is an even softer number, offering beautiful lyrics and equally beautiful harmonies. I think it ends unceremoniously and unworthily, however- just bouncing off the way it does, but the journey itself is short and bittersweet. Personally, I think these two songs are indispensable to one's collection of music from The Decemberists. Had they been written then, they would have been perfect on Picaresque.

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