Picaresque - The Decemberists
Picaresque Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 113 Ratings

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  • Summary: Chris Walla produced this third album for the literary Portland, Ore.-based five-piece led by Colin Meloy.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. For fans of chiming, literate, lovelorn pop, Picaresque is an absolute treasure trove.
  2. This is The Decemberists' strongest release to date, and proves that the group's unique thesaurus-rock has a bright future.
  3. While Picaresque is a significant step forward, it’s also a logical one. The band’s sonic palette has expanded gradually from album to album, and appears to have come full circle here.
  4. The Decemberists’ first two records—Castaways and Cutouts and Her Majesty (both in 2003)—felt a touch spotty.... Picaresque trumps them both by dint of its focus, consistency and restraint.
  5. 80
    Gleams with emotion. [Apr 2005, p.113]
  6. Where 2003's Her Majesty the Decemberists unfurled tales of royalty, and debut Castaways and Cutouts talked of the sea, Picaresque drafts a whole new cast of characters just as colorful.
  7. Over rudimentary, skiffle-derived hooks, a kitchen-sink orchestra creates an aura of portent. Then in steps Meloy, doping up the whole affair with empty melancholy until it has to breathe through a tube, wailing big words in a forced accent that conveys despair but fails to signify its cause, fails to signify anything.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 59
  2. Negative: 4 out of 59
  1. Dec 21, 2011
    10
    One of the best Decemberists albums. They pick up from the more melodic previous two albums with the rocking opener "The Infanta" and it doesn't slow down from there. From that point we get some awesome tracks like the anthemic "We Both Go Down Together", the quirky "Sporting Life", the trumpet-coated "16 Military Wives", the groovy "Engine Driver", and the engaging sea shanty "Mariner's Revenge Song", which is also quite possibly the best song on the album. No matter what genre you're into, if you want to check out a truly remarkable album, "Picaresque" won't disappoint or bore you for a second. Collapse
  2. Apr 11, 2011
    10
    Picaresque is The Decemberists' best album to date. Meloy and company generate memorable melodies with great hooks and delightful word play. There are almost no weak songs on this album. Expand
  3. Nov 15, 2011
    9
    My favourite songs on the album are: 1) The Mariner's Revenge Song 2) The Engine Driver and 3) The Infanta 4) We Both Go Down Together. The Mariner's Revenge Song is in fact one of my most favourite songs of all time, telling an awesome story with a wicked melody. Picaresque is an awesome album. Expand
  4. Dec 15, 2012
    9
    Great album with several really good songs my favorites being 16 Military Wives and The Infanta. Both of which have excellent lyrics and instrumentation. This album also has a variety of sounds on it so you won't be bored and most of songs have a great story if you really listen to them especially The Mariner's Revenge Song. Well worth the money! Expand

See all 59 User Reviews