Fine. Hate on this list all you want. I love this band. They are my second favorite band. Their latest album The King Is Dead was the number one album on Billboard. They also had a pretty good outing there. They announced a tour. Said Fuck You Philly. Then came back and was like Naw We Just Playing. We Love You Philly. So I ordered my tickets and June 15 can’t come soon enough! I compiled here a list of the must listen to tracks from Colin Meloy and the gang. It’s so sweet that you haters can just keep on hating.
12. This Is Why We Fight off off the King Is Dead
There are so many good songs I had to leave off this list for fear of crowding in one album more than another and not having certain albums on the list. The Hazards of Love doesn’t make this cut at all. But from the latest album we get one of the final tracks. I have this song stuck in my head for hours after listening to it for the first time. I really dig it, chorus and all.
11. The Island: Come And See/The Landlord’s Daughter/You’ll Not Feel the Drowning off off The Crane Wife
Clocking in at a whooping twelve plus minutes this is three songs mashed into one song. The one thing though is that they are all held together by a common thread. Everything about these tracks are haunting. The first one has this lyrical madness about what ever Colin Meloy wants it to be about. The fact that every time I hear it the final chapter catches me as he talks about dying at sea. You won’t feel the drowning. Forty winks etc…putting coins your eyes when your dead. All this adds up to a climactic end.
10. The Sporting Life off of Picaresque
A song about sports! Awesome. Meloy doesn’t talk about American sports though. It’s more worldly. It’s some how about how every youth must play sports whether they are good or not. And of course the ones who are not good tend to be the ones to blame for the loss. I love everything about this song. There is no flaws so you can cram them up your butt. I mean the first verse talks about the soccer or something like that then goes straight to boxing. Wow. He is very smart.
09. The Bagman’s Gambit off of Picaresque
What a great song. All about espionage and what not. As the song starts it’s real slow. Nothing overpowering until Meloy brings in his powerful vocals. The first thing I picture is a man in a suit walking the wet rainy streets of DC. This just has that kind of thriller film about it. It’s also a love story. That same guitar riff emanates for most of the song. It’s rather nice and soothing for a bit. But once it tails off near the end of the astounding seven minute long track you lose track of the length and are blown away by the songwriting prowess that is Colin Meloy.
08. July, July off of Castaways and Cutouts
A more poppy sounding track that has upbeat riffs and a quick beat. The fact that Meloy employs a faster sound to it is just amazing. The way the band is able to change the sound from one song to another is one that some bands never do. You pick up a Gaga record and she’s pop all the way through and through. You don’t see her rocking out as an actual rock band, you don’t see her going folk on us, you only see electronic pop. I think what the band does here makes for great live performances. While not the strongest lyrically this one still shines in their library.
07. California One Youth and Beauty off of Castaways and Cutouts
“Come join the California Youth and Beauty!” shouts Meloy at live shows whenever this song is played. I never had much taste of the song until a live performance of it back in 2009’s summer tour. The fact though is the song is a nice slow start to it but slowly rises up to a nice “crescendo.” I do enjoy the ending more so than the actual beginning when he begins to add up that crescendo.
06. Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect off of Castaways and Cutouts
This album is my second favorite. Might have missed mentioning it earlier. Each song is like a stand out track. I would probably make this list just CAC and Picaresque. That’s how good those two are. This song is more of a lyrical track. Big words or more like the common term the two dollar words Meloy spins weaves a picture that some might get. The thing here is though it might take place in the late 1800’s. I don’t know mentioning marionettes, carnivals, and rifles just seems so romantic. Doesn’t it!?
05. Red Right Ankle off of Her Majesty
Something about this song. I didn’t like it at first. The fact that it’s mainly an acoustic and Meloy beckoning out to tell a story about many things I didn’t get it. After many listens it became evident how strong it was on it’s own. Meloy uses words most people would never use in an actual song, words like “sinew” and “spoil” in the same sentence none the less. The way that he changes the subject per verse, going from ankle to uncle. It’s just interesting. And it’s always a crowd favorite live.
04. Billy Liar off of Her Majesty
This is not a favorite album of mine but I love how Meloy just starts this song. The fact that the vocals seem to dominate with the rest of the band being meager backing but eventually taking a nice split is really nice. Meloy doesn’t weave a nice tale but more or less just gives us something he’s still good at…a nice beautiful song that makes you think of times past that we will never relive. I mean he mentions knickers. How many people do that.
03. O Valencia off of The Crane Wife
A mixed review of this album really leaves a bad taste in some but in my mouth I think it tastes pretty damn sexy. This song is one of the lead singles and a great sing along song. I think though that this has another poppy feel to it but in a folky way. The song is obviously a retelling of Romeo and Juliet but in a modern sense. Nothing like that film Romeo Must Die or anything like that. But Meloy once again weaves another tale that makes this memorable. Plus it’s great live.
02. Sixteen Military Wives off of Picaresque
If you haven’t figured out this is my favorite album. I mean that in the best of ways. On this record Meloy shows off his songwriting prowess by changing styles. The video of this song really sells it. If you look deep at it it’s a political themed song discussing the way America views the world as a stage. Very poignant for this day and age and if you think about it even further, it’s got a nice pop ring to it.
01. The Mariner’s Revenge Song off of Picaresque
A title like this just seems so odd and profound. One of the last songs off of their greatest piece of studio work this song combines the olden times sea chanty with a taste of revenge. The accordion haunts the background as Meloy’s vocals soar from start to finish. Not only that but you add in the haunting creeping female vocals of his dead mother. Boom. Crazy genius. Meloy’s lyrical style shows his love of weaving a tale in musical form that most would turn and shake their head because it isn’t about getting a 40 and thusly getting wasted and high.