Album Stream: The Decemberists ‘What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World’

Listen to a new path from The Decemberists, a deeply personal songwriting approach departing from the literary narrative of the past.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

The latest album from The Decemberists been one of our most anticipated albums of 2015, and with good reason: The bearded bards of the Pacific Northwest return with a remarkably strong collection of observations, introspections and reflections far more rooted in reality than their past offerings. And today, it can be streamed in its entirety before its Jan. 20th release on Capitol.

An album title inspired by the chaotic aftermath of the Newtown school shootings, a deeply personal songwriting approach departing from the literary narrative of the past, and a strong sense of purpose within the heart makes The Decemberists’ latest a unique new path through the woods of the Portland collective. A far more self-examining design frames Colin Meloy’s familiar hopeful-melancholy this time around, and as evidenced in the starkness of the stripped “Carolina Low,” it’s a previously-hidden muscle of alarming strength. Meloy also cited Leonard Cohen’s 1977 collaboration with Phil Spector, “Death of a Ladies’ Man,” as a major influence on the album.

Listen to What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World below.