http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/b4158b38dba854d5ac4e4d130aef4baca79b6688.jpg Picaresque

The Decemberists


Rough Trade
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
March 24, 2005

Opening with a parade, ending in a double suicide and climaxing with a murder in the belly of a whale, Picaresque is a triumph of theatrical imagination: the culmination of the Decemberists' steady march to greatness in four years of enriched storytelling and folk-rock invention. Singer-songwriter Colin Meloy has never been shy about the Morrissey and Melville inside his melodies. But here he turns on his inner Tom Waits and Fairport Convention to spectacular effect in eleven parables of dashed expectations: the heavy labor in "Eli, the Barrow Boy"; the ravaged innocence of the runaway prostitutes in "On the Bus Mall"; the righteous bloodletting at the end of "The Mariner's Revenge Song." Combined, they tell a bigger story — of a society convulsed in greed and chaos yet still worth saving — against frenzied walls of strum, strings and cabaret accordion. "We fall, but our souls are flying," Meloy sings — a perfect description of resurrection.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »