Category Archives: The Decemberists

Best Quotes From Songs – The Love Edition


I don’t want to get mushy on you all, but there are some quotes about love from songs that I go gaga over.  And you’re going to hear all about my favorites.  Not because you should.  Not even because I want you to.  It’s because you NEED to.  I’m looking out for you.  You’re welcome.  And there are seven because I felt like it.  Have recommendations?  I’ll consider them.

So.  Running in at number 7…

7. “Pink Squares” by I Was A Cub Scout

“Oh, oh, oh, am I in trouble? / Darling, I apologize. / I need you more than anything / Please come back with me tonight. / Oh, oh, oh, am I in trouble? / Darling, I apologize. / I need you more than anything / Please don’t ever leave my side.”

To me, this is a perfect example of a love song.  It’s wonderful.  The thought is so simple, but so right.  A couple has a disagreement and the person that (presumably) started it is trying to make sure the disagreement doesn’t end things for them.  Like I said, it’s simple but seems right.

6. “Lonely Place” by Tommy & The High Pilots

“Oh, and just like me / She wants a family / Create us some energy / Out of the blue. / That we’ll do. / Oh, and maybe she’s someone I’ve made up / And maybe she’s somebody true / But I won’t rest until I know you.”

I adore this song so much.  And I love this thought: maybe you haven’t found the perfect person, but that shouldn’t stop you from looking for them.  I find this song wistful and hopeful and, like I said, I adore it.

5. “King of Carrot Flowers Part. 1” by Neutral Milk Hotel

“And this is the room one afternoon I knew I could love you / And from above you how I sank into your soul / Into that secret place where no one dares to go.”

This is my favorite Neutral Milk Hotel song, and it’s probably because of this stanza.  I’m not sure if it requires an explanation.  It’s just lovely.

4. “Rise To Me” by The Decemberists

“My darling, my sweetheart, I am in your sway / Two cold climes, come spring time / So let me hear you say / My love / I am gonna stand my ground.”

I love The Decemberists way too much to not include them in this list.  Particularly when this song has such powerful worlds.  I can’t help but be moved when he says “my darling, my sweetheart, I am in your sway.”  It’s beautiful.

3. “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie

“If heaven and hell decide / That they both are satisfied / Illuminate the nos on their vacancy signs / If there’s no one beside you / When your soul embarks / Then I’ll follow you into the dark.”

I think this song has become a classic, and rightfully so.  I mean, how wonderfully romantic/soulful/EVERYTHING is it to tell someone that you’d follow them into the dark.  That they wouldn’t be left alone.  EVER.  I think the simple melody underscores the sheer power of the lyrics.

2. “Anything For You” by Ludo

“I’d give up anything. / Anything for you. / I’d give it all. / All of this is true. / But the best story that I could ever tell / Is the one where I am growing old with you. / All I’ve ever wanted, see, was to tell you honestly / I’d do anything for you. / I’d do absolutely anything for you.”

This might be my favorite concept for a love song ever.  The person singing is describing all of these ridiculous, absurd scenarios, then saying that “the best story that I could ever tell is the one where I am growing old with you.”  You get the honesty of the feelings from the lies he tells.

AND, number one!

1. “Slow Hands” by Interpol

“But I am married to your charms and grace / I just go crazy like the good old days / You make me want to pick up a guitar / And celebrate the myriad ways that I love you.”

This quote is brilliant and wonderful and fantastic.  That last line.  How does it not conjure up warm, fuzzy feelings?  “Celebrate the myriad ways that I love you.”  I’m convinced that if you tell your significant other this, they will swoon.  Better if you serenade them (but only if you can sing).

And that’s that, lovelies.  Just a few thoughts for you all on this absurdly warm evening (for real, it’s November, weather).  Of course, I have a few closing statements:

  1. “Hello Sadness” by Los Campesinos! is available in the US tomorrow.  I highly recommend buying it, listening to it, and falling as in love with that band as I am.
  2. How excited are you for the Ha Ha Tonka/Tommy & the High Pilots concert in a couple of weeks?
  3. Have you submitted shirts for the Best Band Shirts contest?  IT’S GONNA BE GREAT. ENTER NOW.

Best Stories in Songs


I’m a big fan of the narrative told in a song.  Yes, you can argue (clever you) that every song tells a story.  But what about those songs that are TRYING to tell a story?  A very specific one with characters?

Yeah.  Those songs slay me.  And I’ve decided that you all need to know my favorites.  Because I’m right.

“Lake Pontchartrain” by Ludo.

This song is creepy.  And wonderful.  And gets you pumped.  And it was awesome when Ludo opened the St. Louis concert in August with this.

So.  The story goes that the narrator and his two friends (Darius and Nolan) are going on a road trip.  Just trying to get out of Missouri.  No big deal.  Only it ends at Lake Pontchartrain.  Here’s a video with the lyrics.  Enjoy it.

“That’s how it happened.  Why would I lie?  There were no bodies, I’ve got none to hide.”

“Bronx Sniper” by Mister Heavenly

This song is quite powerful.  Nick Thorburn’s crooning voice sings of a sniper who’s gunning people down, while Ryan Kattner’s (Sidenote: I’m convinced I could be happy living in a cardboard box if Ryan would live in it with me) harsher tones sing of having no remorse while he’s gunning people down.

Really, powerful is the best way to describe it.  Here’s the official video, and here’s a link to the lyrics.*

“I shot you down.  You never had a chance in hell.  I shot you down.  And I felt no remorse ’cause this heart’s a stranger and you’ll love it ’cause it’s dangerous like, this heart’s a stranger and you’ll love it ’cause it’s dangerous like yours.”

“Transistor Radio” by Cloud Cult

I’ve mentioned this song before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  This song is really great.  It’s all about a little boy discovering that his grandfather, who had passed away years ago, was trying to contact him and let him know something important.  The boy goes through a journey, eventually coming to the conclusion that his grandfather was trying to tell him that,

“Where I’ve been, where I am is the show.”

Here’s the song, and here are the lyrics.  Prepare to feel a bit weepy.

“O Valencia!” by The Decemberists

This song is Romeo and Juliet.  It’s a song about forbidden love, and it’s done in such an upbeat way that you almost don’t notice the chick dying…except she does.  It’s sad.  And the music is really catchy.  It’s weird in a way you’d expect from The Decemberists.

Here’s the official video, and here’s a link to the lyrics.

“Oh Valencia! With your blood still warm on the ground.  Valencia!  And I swear to the stars, I’ll burn this whole city down.”

“The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by the Decemberists

Okay.  I know what you’re thinking.  I’m just putting up Decemberists songs because they’re my favorite band.  You’re halfway right.  I’m really familiar with their discography.  As in, I can tell you what was released when, what was going through Colin Meloy’s head when he wrote individual songs, and how good the song is live.

And “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” is just something that sticks with you.  I’ve seen it live twice now and, wow.  It’s kind of the bomb (assuming the bomb consists of the band members pretending to die midway through the song and Colin telling the audience exactly how loud he wants them to scream).

This song is about a boy who’s mother dies after being taken advantage of by a sailor.  The boy vows revenge and, years later, he comes quite close to getting it.

If you don’t listen to any of the other songs, or read any of the other lyrics, do yourself a favor and listen to and/or read the words for this one.  It’s that good.

Here’s the song with the lyrics.

“It gives my heart great joy to see your eyes fill with fear.  So lean in close and I will whisper the last words you’ll hear.”

“The Gambler” by Fun.

I’ve mentioned this song before, because I happen to think it’s a wonderful romantic song.  It’s about the life of a couple, after they meet when they’re 18.  It goes through the phases of their relationship, ending with their children coming to visit them again (presumably when the couple is now old and adorable).  When I started off writing this post, I didn’t think I wanted to include any mushy-type things at all.  That being said, it seemed right to mention this one.  It’s how everyone wants their love story to go (if they’re sane), so deal with my brief romantic moment.

Here’s the song with the lyrics.

“But like the night you took my hand beside the fire, thirty years ago to this day.  You swore you’d be here ’til we decide that it’s our time, well it’s not time, you’ve never quit in all your life.  So just take my hand, you know that I will never leave your side.  You’re the love of my life, you know that I will never leave your side.”

“Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” by Arcade Fire

This is arguably my favorite Arcade Fire song.  I love it.  It’s a story about a boy and a girl who are alone in the world due to what must have been one heck of a snow storm.  Listen to it and tell me it doesn’t have some of the most beautiful melodies and imagery in it (hint: don’t actually tell me that.  I’ll know you for a liar).

Here’s the song and the lyrics.

“Then, we tried to name our babies, but we forgot all the names that, the names we used to know.  Sometimes we remember our bedrooms and our parent’s bedrooms and the bedrooms of our friends.  Then we think of our parents.  Well, whatever happened to them?”

“Jellybones” by The Unicorns

This song is hilarious.  It’s about a patient being diagnosed with a very serious case of JELLYBONES.  Unfortunately, the doctor can’t do anything for him.

Here’s the song and the lyrics.

“I woke him up and broke the news.  After everything was sewn I said, ‘Son, you’ve got a full-blown case of what is known as Jellybones.'”

“The Hazards of Love” by The Decemberists

Of course, the songs mentioned earlier don’t include a couple of what I consider excellent concept works.  The first is “The Hazards of Love” by The Decemberists.

This album is genius.  The entirety of it (from the first song to the last) flows seamlessly into one another to tell a story about Margaret, her shape-shifting lover, and the trials they go through.  It’s wonderful.

Here’s a playlist with every song in the album.  And, word to the wise: Sometimes, you can shuffle the playlists I provide you and you will not be threatened with bodily harm.  This time, however, I HIGHLY recommend you follow my advice and DO NOT SHUFFLE.  You will do yourself a disservice, since you will undoubtedly not know what’s going on.  The story is complex.  Don’t underestimate it.

“The Hazards of Love, you’ll learn soon enough.  The prettiest whistles won’t wrestle the thistles undone.  Undone.”

“The Tain” by The Decemberists

I also recommend listening to “The Tain” by The Decemberists.  It began in the same tradition that “Hazards” did, but I think the EP isn’t (purely because of time constraints) as well developed and epic as “Hazards.”

“Darling, dear, what have you done?  Your hands and face are smeared with blood.”

“Broken Bride” by Ludo

Then we have what I would probably say is my favorite EP, the “Broken Bride” EP by Ludo.  If you’ve seen/read “The Time Machine,” you know the general plot of the EP.  Of course, that doesn’t begin to do it justice.  It’s really an epic five songs, and won’t take you too much time to listen.

“I crashed before the birth of Christ, pterodactyls swarming.  You died in 1989, wanna get back to that morning in May.  Keep you in bed.  Never escape.  Holding you close.  Listen to you breathe the evening’s glow of fading light and cooling space.”

Am I missing other concept albums that deserve a shout out?  Probably.  Tell me about it.  Otherwise I’ll never know the error of my ways, and I’ll be insufferably arrogant forever.  Do you really want THAT on your conscience?

*I disagree with some of the lyrics this site has up.  I think the first line is “Later on in the epilogue, THEY FOUND HIM,” and that the last lines of the chorus are “This heart’s a stranger AND YOU’LL LOVE IT ’cause it’s dangerous like, this heart’s a stranger AND YOU’LL LOVE IT ’cause it’s dangerous like yours.”

Best Creepy Song Quotes


Happy Halloween, you little ghoulies.

I hope you had a good weekend dressed up in your costumes and eating candy and doing nothing else that would make anyone blush or pretend to not hear so we don’t run screaming to the cops.

I know I’ve given you some playlists designed to get you in a creepy mood, but I decided that wasn’t enough.  So, here are my favorite creepy song quotes.  Feel free to chime in if you agree or disagree.  But I’m right. Always.

Fought and fell for our great king we burned alive and boiled /  The dragon, red and wrathful calls, we rise and march once more / Cursed in death, we starve for flesh / Our skin is cooked and curled / We’ll eat our kin and smash them in / In Hell, we’ll grind their bones. – Save Our City by Ludo

I’m a killer / Cold and wrathful / Silent sleeper / I’ve been inside your bedroom / I’ve murdered half the town / Left you love notes on their headstones / I’ll fill the grave yard / Until I have you. – Horror of Our Love by Ludo

I’ve got a / Taste for blood / Leave the weak / Leave the young / I’ve got a / Taste for blood / I’m walking out / Without you / You will kill / Or be killed / It’s about / Progress / I’ve got a / Taste for blood. – Plans by Bloc Party

Ply her heart / With gold and silver / Take your sweetheart down to the river / Dash her on the paving stones / It may break your heart / To break her bones but / Someone’s got to do the culling / Of the fold. – Culling of the Fold by the Decemberists

Don’t hold out for rescue / None can hear your call / ‘Til I have wrest and wrecked you / Behind these fortress walls. – Margaret in Captivity by the Decemberists

And that’s how I came / Your humble narrator / To be living so easy and free / Expect that you think that I should be haunted / But it never really bothers me / All right. – The Rake’s Song by the Decemberists

Right from the start i was stabbed in the heart / Didn’t know i wasn’t breathing / Didn’t know i had been bleeding / Open my door thought I was alone / but someone was hiding /In the dark room in my home. – Creeper by Islands

In the back of my mind / I want to do bad things / I want to be unkind / When I’m in my room / I love the shadows / Of my bad bones / I have thoughts I won’t share / Because I don’t think I could bear to face you / With the lights on / I feel evil creeping in. –I Feel Evil Creeping In by Islands

Of course, there are also some good musicals you should think about.  Nightmare Before Christmas, Repo! The Genetic Opera and Evil Dead the Musical, to name a few.

Oh, and remember!  The contest ends tomorrow.  I’ve had some pretty sweet entries, and I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to enter!  Send me your best song titles, people.  That’s the only way to win.

New Dance Card goes up tomorrow…are you ready for November?  I’m getting pumped.

And with that, good night and good luck.  Hope you survive the evening.

Colin Meloy v. Chris Funk


Special treat.  In honor of “Long Live the King” (out Nov. 1), here is a guitar battle between Colin Meloy and Chris Funk at the Decemberists concert in St. Louis at the Pageant on April 27, 2011.

Of course, midway through they brought in help.  Because their expert guitar skills weren’t enough.

It. Was. Great.

Fo’ real.

Also, don’t forget about the contest children.  You need to submit something to win!

Weekly Setlist – Oct. 20


Good even, fellow fellows.  This day has been a wee bit on the nippy side.

So, I’ve decided to make the setlist reflect that.  Granted, it’s a little abstractish.  But I think that’s what lends it its charm.

Give it a listen and tell me if I’ve gone mental.


As per usual, here’s the playlist on Grooveshark and on Spotify. [Note: “Emily” was not available on Grooveshark]

And if you don’t feel like listening to Grooveshark or Spotify or are unable to, here are the individual links.

“We Will Become Silhouettes” by The Postal Service

“It’s Not You, It’s Me” by Coconut Records

“Gray Or Blue” by JayMay

“Night Windows” by The Weakerthans

“I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From” by Kings of Convenience

“Emily” by Absent Elk

“Usual Suspects” by Ha Ha Tonka

“January Hymn” by The Decemberists

Also, no making fun of my misspelling of January up there.  That’s rude.  And two-faced.  Which is really funny and clever if you understand Janus and all that.

You’re welcome, comment on this post and good night (unless you’re going to the Ha Ha Tonka show at Lindberg’s, in which case I’ll see you there).

Best Song Quotes Of Which There Are 13


Good Evening, Mr. Bond. I’ve been expecting you.

Sorry.  That just seemed appropriate.  Tonight’s edition of I-know-better-music-than-you will culminate in a list of some of my favorite song quotes.  Obviously, you are encouraged to tell me if you think I’m wrong, to tell me you agree with me, or to suggest some quotes that should have made it to the list.

Also, if you’re wondering why 13…why not 13?  Should you be engaging in such blatant numberism?  It’s not becoming.  Good day, madam.  I SAID GOOD DAY.

As always, viewer participation is advised.  And with that, I give you my top 13 song quotes*:

13. “In the Kingdom of Love / We’re all just fodder.” –“Kingdom of Spain” by The Decemberists

The only way you’ll understand this song is if you listen to it a minimum of two times.  I get something new out of it every time I listen to it, and this line always makes me nod wisely.

  12. “Maybe the lining of a winter’s coat / Mightn’t be the best place / To hide a summer’s secret” – “Knee Deep At ATP” by Los Campesinos!

I know I’ve mentioned this song several times, but that’s only because I love it so much and it speaks to me.  Also, he says “mightn’t.”  MIGHTN’T.  I challenge you not to swoon when you hear it.  And not to feel a bit depressed about love after this song.

11. “Coin-operated boy / With a pretty coin-operated voice / Saying that he loves me / That he’s thinking of me / Straight and to the point / That is why I want / A / Coin-operated boy.” – “Coin-Operated Boy” by The Dresden Dolls

This is another one of those songs that smacks you in the face.  At the beginning, you hear Amanda Palmer talking about the benefits of having a coin-operated boy.  Toward the end of the song, you realize she only wants one because she wants someone to love her and none of the real ones could do it right.  Yeah.  It’s a bit of a quirky downer.

10. “We were certainly uncertain / At least I’m pretty sure I am.” – “Missed the Boat” by Modest Mouse

This quote puts me in mind of Peter Pan.  Oh, the cleverness of Isaac Brock!  But really.  He’s a brilliant lyricist.  You can never go wrong listening to some Modest Mouse.  Or Ugly Casanova.  Or any projects he’s involved in.  You can assume his work will always be good, and you would always be right.

9. “It was love at second sight / I swear when I grow up / I won’t just buy you a rose / I will buy the flower shop / And you will never be lonely.” –“The Gambler” by Fun.

I think one of the reasons I like this song so much is that it’s talking about true love, but that it was “love at second sight.”  This entire song is lovely, and always makes me feel warm and romantically inclined.

8. “‘Cause in my head / There is a Greyhound station / Where I send my thoughts / To far off destinations / So they may have a chance / Of finding a place where they’re / Far more suited than here.” – “Soul Meets Body” by Death Cab For Cutie

This is such a wonderful mental image.  I don’t know that its place on this list really needs an explanation.  It’s just great.  Thank you Ben Gibbard.  Thank you.

7. “There’s a time to pray / And there’s a time to fight / Anything can be a weapon / If you’re holding it right.” – “Save Our City” by Ludo

This is one of those songs that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.  And I immediately want to scream “VIVA LA REVOLUCION!” and then I want to lead a revolution.  It’s such a powerful statement, that “anything can be a weapon if you’re holding it right.”  It gives me chills.

6. “You’re a masterpiece of particles / The genuine article / I’ll grease the wheels / Come out and spin it / I’ll keep the speed / You’ll be the limit.” – “The Limit”  by Tommy & the High Pilots

Before I heard this song, I had no idea it was the song I was looking for.  “The Limit” is such a great song to dance to, and “you’re a masterpiece of particles” is one of the sweetest things ever.  Note to everyone: excellent pick-up line material.  But only if you have Tom Cantillon’s angelic voice AND looks.

5. “If you ain’t sweet to me / I’ll desert you in a heartbeat / If you don’t savor me / I’ll salt you, make you savory.” – “If” by Islands

This song never fails to amuse me and force me to clap my hands with glee over Nick Thorburn’s play on words.  Do you get it?  “If you don’t savor me, I’ll salt you, make you savory.”  DO YOU GET IT?

4. “Language is the liquid / That we’re all dissolved in / Great for solving problems / After it creates a problem.” – “Blame It On The Tetons”by Modest Mouse

This is another of those lines where Isaac Brock is singing truth.  I have read arguments from philosophers struggling to say precisely what Brock does, and they don’t possess a tenth of his eloquence or present the same impact.  Words matter.  Thanks to Brock, the lesson has been learned.

3. “Every saint has a past / Every sinner has a future.” – “Topeka” by Ludo

This line might be the most profound one on this list.  Have you ever read anything that gives you more hope?  No one is perfect and everyone has the chance to be better.  Tim Ferrell is a wonderful lyricist, and has great depth and insight that I wish Ludo would use more.

2. “I see signs now all the time / That you’re not dead, you’re sleeping / I believe in anything / That brings you back home to me.” –“Signs” by Bloc Party

You know that blank slate period when you don’t have a specific song in mind, but there’s one song that kind of hovers in the background?  That song for me is “Signs,” and it’s this one part.  The song is as melancholic as they come, and haunts me.  Which is appropriate considering the song.  Listening to it is really the only way I can do it justice.

And now.  The moment some of you probably scrolled to the bottom of the page for without reading anything else, the number one song quote on my list is:

1. “And how it whispered / ‘Oh, adhere to me’ / ‘For we are bound by symmetry.'” – “Red Right Ankle” by The Decemberists

For those of you who know me, or remember my post about the Decemberists where I showed you a picture of my tattoo, this is no surprise.  For the rest of you, try and wrap your brain around the significance of this quote.  “We are bound by symmetry.”  When does that not apply?  Since I heard this song and fully comprehended it, I’ve never been able to look at another person without seeing that they are a PERSON.  Gay, black, Mormon or any variation therein, everyone is someone.  Music is powerful.

Now, good friends.  That does it for the list.  Again, comment if you wish to exclaim over my brilliance or mock me mercilessly.

One more thing.  This week (Thursday), Ha Ha Tonka will be playing at Lindbergh’s in Springfield.  If you want more info, go here.  I’ll be talking about it more later this week.

Now.  Go drink a  martini and get ready for the week.

Tommy & the High Pilots merchandise.

Just wanted to remind everyone that I take my band stalking seriously.  Also, if anyone from The High Pilots reads this, I’m looking to get my fourth shirt next month.  Come prepared.

*Order/songs/quotes/anything else I want is subject to change at any time based on any flight of fancy or journey of whimsy I go on.

Weekly Setlist – Oct. 13


Hello friendly friends.  I hope tonight is an especially good night for you.  It’s been a great one for me.  I’ve been productive and awesome and kind of epic.

Don’t be jealous.  This week’s setlist is designed to help you be as great as me.  Of course, music can’t do everything.  It’s all…in YOU.

Whatever.  Here’s the playlist.

Oct. 13 Setlist. Oh, and my handwriting looks better if you squint.

As per usual, here’s the playlist on Grooveshark and on Spotify. [Note: “I See How You Are” was not available on Spotify]

And if you’re in a hurry or can’t be bothered to listen to all of it (I’m not offended so much as…disbelieving), here are the individual song links.

Lucky Today” by Cloud Cult

“July, July!” by the Decemberists

“Kids” by MGMT

“The Limit” by Tommy & the High Pilots

“Naked As We Came” by Iron & Wine

“I See How You Are” by The Broken Family Band

“Love Astronaut” by Murder Mystery

“Rough Gem” by Islands

Good night ducks.  Parting is such sweet sorrow and all that.