• Record Label: Capitol
  • Release Date: Oct 3, 2006
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 150 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 150

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  1. WH
    Oct 11, 2006
    10
    Astounding. I cannot put it down.
  2. RobertD
    Dec 1, 2006
    9
    This could be my favorite album of the year!
  3. NickY
    Oct 4, 2006
    10
    The whole album is gorgeous. The entire Crane Wife cycle, (especially part 3) are some of the saddest, most beautiful songs the Decemberists have ever produced, which is saying a lot, seeing as sad and beautiful songs are something of a specialty of theirs.
  4. MaxF
    Oct 7, 2006
    10
    Forget Decembrists that you once knew and loved. Forget the dynamic characters, the musical theater, forget the whaling songs, the gimmicky lost legionaries, flues, and parapets. The Decembrists
  5. AndrewD
    Feb 1, 2007
    10
    A true masterpiece, the Decemberists have definitely evolved in their song writing capabilities and Meloys lyrics never cease to amaze. Every song is a world of its own that one can step into, a world that they have brilliantly created.
  6. JoeB
    Jan 2, 2008
    10
    Astonishing. Breathtaking. Grandiose and sweeping. Meloy accompanies the smooth rhythm with his notes as well as he does for the hectic passion, so easily yet identifiably created. With this record he also, undoubtedly, sets himself apart from almost any other lyricist writing at the moment. His prose and storytelling demand to be listened to, moving from the elegant to the bluntness. The Astonishing. Breathtaking. Grandiose and sweeping. Meloy accompanies the smooth rhythm with his notes as well as he does for the hectic passion, so easily yet identifiably created. With this record he also, undoubtedly, sets himself apart from almost any other lyricist writing at the moment. His prose and storytelling demand to be listened to, moving from the elegant to the bluntness. The sublime to the ridiculous. The Crane wife may not be the most important album out of the states in the last five years, but it is certainly the best. When stripped down to it's essence (which is incredibly hard to do) the record is, at it's core, a novel. A novel of beauty and rare , pure genius. Expand
  7. JohnF
    Nov 6, 2006
    10
    After much deliberation and close examination, I have decided that this is the best album of the year thus far and the best album the Decemberists have ever made.
  8. stevew
    Oct 22, 2006
    9
    literate and gripping , a facinating cd that wil surely be one of the best of the year
  9. MicS
    Oct 23, 2006
    10
    Different to previous albums but still excellent, a grower.
  10. PatW
    Oct 24, 2006
    10
    Minus "when the war came" every song here is spectacular. Best album of the year.
  11. MattLeeM
    Oct 29, 2006
    10
    Awesome album. Track 2 makes me sadder than it has any right to,
  12. DanielR
    Oct 3, 2006
    10
    I just bought this CD, and it's amazing. Definitely their best. Where they started out with a very Sea Shanty sound, in their first album, and in Her Majesty, and moved more into a rock/pop sound in Picaresque, and used their epic sound in The Tain, this album fuses all of those together in an amazing way. I may not have good grammar, but I can tell that this album still rocks out hard!
  13. OliverC
    Oct 3, 2006
    9
    An absolutely wonderful album. Great new sounds from the band. The only reason it doesn't get a 10 is because it unfortuneately has to be compared with some of the greatest albums ever, namely "Picaresque" and "Her majesty"...
  14. JulioC
    Oct 3, 2006
    9
    Not too good as 'Picaresque", but lyrical and strong melodies.
  15. faustr
    Oct 4, 2006
    10
    this album is so incredible it hurts. i cant belive a band could pull somthing like this off. i think that : o valencia" is the best song ever made. therefor this album recives a perfect 10.
  16. BenW
    Oct 5, 2006
    9
    This album is both musically and lyrically brilliant - their best work yet. 9.5/10
  17. [Anonymous]
    Oct 5, 2006
    10
    Simply outstanding!
  18. Charles
    Oct 5, 2006
    10
    Best album of the year, hands down. Last time I felt this way about an album was "OK Computer".
  19. KeithM
    Oct 7, 2006
    10
    I didn't think they could top some of their last albums but I've found myself listening to this more than I ever listened to their other stuff. I'm blown away.
  20. JonathanL
    Oct 9, 2006
    9
    Beauty
  21. YaoYaoC
    Oct 9, 2006
    10
    Certainly the most experimental album by the Decemberists, The Crane Wife is both nothing like previous releases and yet very similar at the same time.
  22. Waterhouse
    Oct 5, 2007
    10
    Decemberists' best. Diverse, innovative, and dare I say edgy? In my opinion, flawless. Anyone presuming to review this lower than 8 out of 10 needs their ears thoroughly examined.
  23. David
    Jun 9, 2007
    9
    I love this album :D I didn't like it the first time I listened to it, but then I listened to it again and realised that it's really good :O
  24. BMartin
    Nov 3, 2008
    10
    A triumph!
  25. JoeE
    Oct 11, 2006
    10
    Though I'm not sure it's necessarily their best album, as they are all sufficiently unique and awe-inspiring, The Crane Wife just adds support to my long-held belief that The Decemberists are one of the most original, capable, and universally appreciable bands out there. The electric organ in The Island did throw me off at first (as did the sounds of The Perfect Crime 2 and When Though I'm not sure it's necessarily their best album, as they are all sufficiently unique and awe-inspiring, The Crane Wife just adds support to my long-held belief that The Decemberists are one of the most original, capable, and universally appreciable bands out there. The electric organ in The Island did throw me off at first (as did the sounds of The Perfect Crime 2 and When The War Came, with good reason), but after a few listens, I'm hooked. It's always important to look not just at the word choice, and not just at the music or the storyline or the choice of instrumentation, but the album as a whole, and The Decemberists excel at producing the most cohesive and entirely beautiful albums out there. If the trend continues, I'm sure they'll not disappoint. Expand
  26. paolod
    Nov 21, 2006
    10
    il disco più bello del 2006.
  27. Matt
    Nov 25, 2006
    9
    I could have done without The Landlord's Daughter, and Chris Walla's production sometimes tries to make these guys sound a little too much like Death Cab... anybody else notice that the feedback at the end of The Crane Wife 3 sounds suspiciously like the feedback at the end of Transatlanticism opener The New Year? All that aside, this is still one of the best albums of the year, I could have done without The Landlord's Daughter, and Chris Walla's production sometimes tries to make these guys sound a little too much like Death Cab... anybody else notice that the feedback at the end of The Crane Wife 3 sounds suspiciously like the feedback at the end of Transatlanticism opener The New Year? All that aside, this is still one of the best albums of the year, and one of the band's stronger releases to date. Expand
  28. Nathalie
    Nov 27, 2006
    10
    Excellent album, its nice to see that switching over to a major label hasnt changed what this band is all about. they music is still great..
  29. JacobM
    Oct 13, 2006
    10
    This is easily the best album I have heard in a very very long time. There are a couple of producing choices I would have like to see go the other way (like the repetitions in Sons & Daughters, for instance). However, "O Valencia!" is a masterful storytelling song given the way the lyrics nimbly move the listener throughout the narrative. It seems as though When The War Came is getting This is easily the best album I have heard in a very very long time. There are a couple of producing choices I would have like to see go the other way (like the repetitions in Sons & Daughters, for instance). However, "O Valencia!" is a masterful storytelling song given the way the lyrics nimbly move the listener throughout the narrative. It seems as though When The War Came is getting much abuse, but I think that in both content and delivery it's incredibly effective. All in all, I have been listening to this album nonstop since I first got it. Expand
  30. MichaelS
    Oct 14, 2006
    9
    The Crane Wife trilogy is beautiful, those two songs makeit worth the purchase. With the addition of 8 other outstanding songs, you would have to be a fool not to buy it.
  31. SteveM
    Oct 15, 2006
    10
    The best album of the year. All of the tracks have something to offer, and when put together they make for a very deep listening experience. 10 out of 10. Seriously, go out and buy this album. Now.
  32. GSpot
    Oct 17, 2006
    10
    Such a beautiful and rich album, it should be enjoyed in moderation....Like a fine wine or a good sweet. Just the same though it will be something wanted every day and for a good long time to come. This will be on many a mates top 5 of this year, not to mention top 100 of the decade.
  33. othos
    Oct 17, 2006
    10
    Best record of the year to date. I even liked the anomaly, "Islands," which would be at home on the best prog-rock records of the mid-'70s. Meloy apparently listened to THICK AS A BRICK and THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY more than a couple of times.
  34. fiufiu
    Oct 19, 2006
    10
    the best >06
  35. ocosta
    Oct 19, 2006
    10
    as i put the CD on each time a song would finish i'd have to press repeat, its a masterpeice.
  36. JustH
    Dec 12, 2006
    9
    I cannot believe I'm saying this but despite the album leaning towards prog rock, I love it! It may be their best work to date. The song cycles are catchy and intense and the standalone tracks are a great romp.
  37. Nathon
    Dec 3, 2006
    9
    I can't stop listening! I haven't heard an album this great since Death Cab's Tranatlantism. Although the whole album works standout tracks like O'Valencia and Son& Daughters are transcendant. All this in a story book concept with an anti-war message.
  38. MattD.
    Oct 26, 2006
    10
    Going to a major label hasn't sacrificed their integrity. While more of a rock/pop effort than Picaresque, The Crane Wife never has a stale moment.
  39. romanmc
    Dec 9, 2006
    9
    Great record. There's more continuity on this record, more chance-taking than the past and the band sacrifices their tendency to cloy for more full-fledged sounds.
  40. AaronS
    Oct 3, 2006
    10
    The band's strongest and most consistent effort to date. They've managed to retain their idiosynchratic style and add some welcome punch to it. Beautiful record-definitely one of the top five albums of 2006.
  41. EricW
    Oct 3, 2006
    10
    The Decemberists have been building up towards their masterwork for most of the decade, and it has finally arrived. They take their winning storytelling elements and raise the bar musically by further developing the diversity, darkness, and prog influences behind their "The Tain" EP.
  42. MaxB.
    Oct 3, 2006
    10
    Anyone who thought the Decemberists' run of gorgeous melodies, vocabulary-expanding lyrics and comical tales of vagabonds, pirates and theives came to a dramatic close when they "sold out" and signed with Capitol, well, there's a caravan of crow waiting for you out on my vast miranda. "The Crane Wife," enchanting and listenable from start to finish, is a serious candidate for Anyone who thought the Decemberists' run of gorgeous melodies, vocabulary-expanding lyrics and comical tales of vagabonds, pirates and theives came to a dramatic close when they "sold out" and signed with Capitol, well, there's a caravan of crow waiting for you out on my vast miranda. "The Crane Wife," enchanting and listenable from start to finish, is a serious candidate for album of the year. Retaining "Picaresque" producer Chris Walla (of Death Cab fame), Colin Meloy's songwriting misses nary a beat in his band's callup to the big leagues, while utilizing Walla's producing and their haunts to enhance their established sound. "The Crane Wife 3," "Yankee Bayonet" (a particularly beautiful duet with Laura Veir), and "Summersong" among others follow the beautiful, tried-and-true formula of past Decemberists albums, while Meloy and co. also delve into new territory with the moody prog-rock of "When the War Came," the epic prog/folk melding of "The Island" (imagine their five-part EP "The Tain" meets ABC's "Lost" - with a creepy twist) and the upbeat funk of "Perfect Crime 2." The central Crane Wife story is wrapped up in the similarly epic prequel "The Crane Wife 1 & 2," and then the album closes on a high note with the anthemic "Sons and Daughters," with a catchy anti-war chorus ("Hear all the bombs fade away"), that outdoes even their own "16 Military Wives." Are the Decemberists about to become too popular for their own good? Perhaps...but if "The Crane Wife" is as big of a runaway success as it deserves to be, we can at least look forward to the much-needed improvement of the American public's vocabulary. Which reminds me - I foresee a Colin Meloy Grammy acceptance speech that would make even the most hardened closed-captioning typist cringe. Expand
  43. MattA
    Oct 3, 2006
    10
    First and Most Emportantly... Colin Meloy is one of the greatest songwriters in the past century. Each song is almost like a living piece of art... and this shows in the Crane Wife. I hope that this is just a stepping stone for what's to come later. Im anxious to see where he's going to take us next.
  44. EdwardL
    Oct 5, 2006
    10
    They had me with The Landlord's Daughter-the organ playing on that song is wicked! and "the faux metal riffage" of When the War Came is phenomenal, regardless of what Entertainment Weekly's lame review said. BTW I have not been a committed Decembrists fan (although I loved the 16 Military Wives video) but The Crane Wife blows me away; even if it is their "major label debut." I They had me with The Landlord's Daughter-the organ playing on that song is wicked! and "the faux metal riffage" of When the War Came is phenomenal, regardless of what Entertainment Weekly's lame review said. BTW I have not been a committed Decembrists fan (although I loved the 16 Military Wives video) but The Crane Wife blows me away; even if it is their "major label debut." I hope they took Capitol to the cleaners! Expand
  45. CAbles
    Oct 6, 2006
    10
    Brilliant in every sense of the word. Don't miss this album, it's impossible to not like.
  46. PaulF
    Oct 6, 2006
    9
    5 star pirate rock The Island: Come and See / The Landlord's Daughter / You'll Not Feel the Drowning is an epic (Tha for some bizare reason reminds me of november rain) that I cant get enough of.
  47. SeanM
    Oct 7, 2006
    10
    I don't know if this album is up to the level of Her Majesty, but it stands out as an excellent Decemberists album.
  48. JoshH
    Oct 8, 2006
    9
    Staggeringly good. One or two comparatively weak songs cannot mask the underlying genius that is evident in the remainder. If, like Jake M., you're not a fan of hyper-literate, narrative-led music, then this is probably not for you, but I'm sure that most will find that the Decemberist's unquantifiable mix of folk, prog and Victoriana irresistable.
  49. RobI
    Nov 12, 2007
    10
    This is my first listen to a Decemberist Album, and I find myself listening to it over and over again. Fanf***ingtastic album. It has been 20 or more years since an album grabbed me the way this one did. I was introduced to it about 6 months ago, and I still can't get enough of it.
  50. jtc
    Dec 1, 2007
    9
    This album is the bomb. Gets better every time I listen to it. If you like good original (yet accessible) music and songwriting, you'll like this album. If you don't, you won't.
  51. markp
    Feb 15, 2007
    9
    Iimagine my soul wandering the countryside learning the secrets of the earth. Of a very rustic yet elegant tenor. Every time I listen to this album I find something new, either in the music, or within myself.
  52. EricP
    Nov 15, 2006
    10
    Another amazing album by the Decemberists. 100% quality = 10/10
  53. PaulO
    Oct 12, 2006
    9
    I just got it two days ago and I've been listening to it constantly. Amazing. I can't stop listening to tracks 3 and 4 especially. It's the first Decemberists album I've ever heard and now I'm going out to get their other albums ASAP.
  54. JMedin
    Oct 12, 2006
    10
    better and better
  55. teach
    Nov 2, 2006
    10
    Everyone talks about prog-rock, but the real spiritual ancestor of the Decemberists is Al Stewart. From the literate-bordering-on-pretentious lyrics to the almost-precious vocal mannerisms, The Crane Wife owes more to Year of the Cat than Dark Side of the Moon. Then, again, I like Al Stewart, so what do I know?
  56. JoeL
    Oct 13, 2006
    10
    Meloy has attained perfection once again.
  57. AndrewP
    Oct 15, 2006
    9
    Its about the songs; the harmonies, the hooks, the arrangements. Meloy is a true storyteller, in the sense that his characters become the songs. The best album of the year thus far.
  58. IdalecioC
    Oct 17, 2006
    10
    I just give it a 10 because of O Valencia! ...without that it would be a 8-9
  59. AndyW
    Oct 23, 2006
    10
    amazing CD, all tracks are melodic and rich. Easily the best I've heard this year...
  60. BadgerG
    Mar 13, 2007
    9
    Amazing! Even better than their last album which was hard to believe. Listen to it. Get it.
  61. alexf
    Jul 25, 2007
    9
    Great Album!
  62. JustinT
    Dec 15, 2006
    10
    Earth-shatteringly sentimental in a good way. One of my top ten of 2006.
  63. MilesK
    Dec 24, 2006
    10
    It's been a long time since I've been as captivated by an album... just about every track is a gem.
  64. Oct 30, 2011
    9
    One of the Decemberists' best efforts, if not their best album so far; The Crane WIfe has a more refined sound compared to their previous works. While Picaresque may have more defined tracks that allow them to stand alone very well, The Crane Wife is smoother and more cohesive, and does so without sacrificing the Decemberists' style.
  65. Dec 15, 2012
    10
    Simply an amazing album. Pretty much every song is great. I remember first seeing the list of songs and seeing that there were two songs that were both over ten minutes long and was skeptical as to how any song could be that long without boring the listener. However, I was pleasantly surprised by their quality. This album is just amazing. Worth the money for sure!
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Oddly, the unconventional sequencing and measured pace of the album make the fragmented mess hold together quite well.
  2. The jarring faux-metal riffage of "When the War Came" exposes Meloy's limits, but several of these studies in heartbreak and homicide rank among his most moving. [6 Oct 2006, p.68]
  3. Most of The Crane Wife consists of rehashes of Decemberists staples and by-the-books, cookie-cutter indie pop that runs the gamut between pleasant enough ("O, Valencia!") and barely tolerable ("Summersong").