The Decemberists Release “Make You Better”

Written by on November 7, 2014

The Decemberists have had a prolific career, and have maintained visibility in their genre since their debut in 2003. A string of releases later, and the band has shared “Make You Better”, from their forthcoming LP, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.

This album will be their seventh studio album. It’s also their first new music in four years.

The new cut fits snugly in the anthology of The Decemberists’ releases. A prevalent lead guitar (though electric, rather than their usual acoustic), steady drums, and a backing piano all have a presence here. All of this is served under lead singer Colin Meloy’s familiar rich voice.

The band eschews their normal topic of history and adventure sung with an archaic, verbose vocabulary for frankness. The quirks found in previous albums—the literary folklore of The Crane Wife, the bluegrassy tunes of The King is Dead—are not found in this cut.

Ever ambitious, this song is concerning a relationship that fails at healing either parties. Meloy sings “I wanted you/I needed you/to make me better”, and it’s easy to feel sympathy for his failing relationship.

Through they’ve never been of the moment, when Meloy pines that “we’re not so starry-eyed anymore”, we’re inclined to believe that The Decemberists are going somewhere more serious and earnest than campy folk-rock they’re worshiped for. “Make You Better” hints that they’ve reached a confluence of their history and their present.


By Mitchell McCluskey

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