Her Majesty

Her Majesty

by The Decemberists
4.6 9


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Her Majesty

On Her Majesty, the Decemberists' follow-up to their excellent debut, Castaways and Cutouts, the group cements its reputation as a seafaring Belle & Sebastian or a more grounded Neutral Milk Hotel. Tying together sweet symphonic pop with a ragtag theatricality, this album is more ambitious and more scattered than Castaways and Cutouts, making it an initially less accessible and more difficult listen. However, many of Her Majesty's most indulgent moments are among its best, including the high drama of the album opener, "Shanty for the Aretheusa," an epic that runs with the dark beauty that haunted the corners of the Decemberists' debut and gives it a wild, rambling edge. Likewise, "The Gymnast, High Above the Ground" also displays the band's expertise at creating subtle but palpable drama and swooning romanticism with just a few musical brush strokes. The wonderfully named "I Was Meant for the Stage," a triumphantly bittersweet song for the inner drama queen in everyone, shows off Colin Meloy's uniquely expressive voice: at one moment he's lispingly fey; the next, he's sneering self-deprecatingly. These beautiful, challenging songs make the band's occasional dips into treacle, such as the cloying "Billy Liar," forgivable, but what makes Her Majesty such a solid album is the consistent quality of the songs pitched between its high and low points. "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" flirts with soft rock, coming across as a latter-day single from Al Stewart; "Your Red Right Ankle" is an intimately and creatively detailed love song; and "Song for Myla Goldberg" has a sunny, winning appeal. Even though Her Majesty isn't quite as striking and full-formed as Castaways and Cutouts, it's still a consistently charming album that finds the band coming into its own.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/09/2003
Label: Kill Rock Stars
UPC: 0759656037525
catalogNumber: 60375
Rank: 95369

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Decemberists   Primary Artist
Kenneth Erlick   Hand Clapping
Rachel Blumberg   Organ,Percussion,Drums,Glockenspiel,Background Vocals,Vibes,Soloist
David Lipkind   Chromatic Harmonica
Chris Funk   Dobro,Percussion,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar,oberheim,Lap Steel Guitar
Colin Meloy   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Jenny Conlee   Percussion,Piano,Accordion,Hammond Organ,Background Vocals,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer,Piano (Upright)
Jesse Emerson   Percussion,Electric Bass,Upright Bass
Lucia Atkinson   Violin
Bridget Callahan   Viola
Emily Cox   Violin
Carson Ellis   screams
Cory Gray   Trombone,Trumpet,Hand Clapping
Mike Lah   Cello

Technical Credits

Larry Crane   Producer,Engineer
Mike Johnson   String Arrangements
Bradley Clark   Producer
Adam Selzer   Producer,Engineer
Decemberists   Producer
Colin Meloy   Composer
Carson Ellis   Illustrations

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best include: "Billy Liar", probably the one and only anthem of summertime adolescent boredom "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" and "Song for Myla Goldberg", a somber, poppy tribute to L.A. and a more N.M.H.-ish one to N.Y.C. respectively "The Bachelor and the Bride", a depressive and utterly beautiful song that is the best and worst choice for the prom slow dance, the lyrics being the latter reason and "The Chimbley Sweep", a catchy, dark, and short little ditty during the Victorian era (the live versions are usually fabulous but muddled).
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you don't have this CD already your life is empty. The Decemberists are an amazing band that succesfully span all types of songs and lyrics. Songs to fall asleep to, songs to dance to, and songs to reflect. It has everything. and colin meloy has the most uniques and amazing voice.
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