The King Is Dead - The Decemberists
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 64
  2. Negative: 4 out of 64

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  1. Jan 19, 2011
    9
    Well, The Decemberists new release, "The King Is Dead", is a countrified- folk rock wonder. This album is just fantastic. After the first few seconds I was reminded of Tarkio, an alternative country band that Colin Meloy headed before The Decemberists. A fantastic album, not a single weak track on it.
  2. Jan 22, 2011
    10
    This is an awesome album. One of my favorites from The Decemberists. They finally switched up their genre and the rock/pop feeling they go for is nailed perfectly. There is no weak track in this entire album and is worth every cent. Buy it.
  3. Jan 24, 2011
    9
    If you're already a Decemberists fan you probably don't need any convincing that this album is a great investment of time. It feels like a step backwards, returning to a more "Picaresque" sensibility with a country music twist but while they have stylistically stepped back they have creatively stepped forward. It almost feels like a concept album tied together with "seasonal" songs but it isn't quite, it all just fits together so well you want it to be though. A great album if you love the Decemberists and if you don't then maybe this is where you should give them another chance. Expand
  4. Jun 6, 2011
    10
    It seems I remember a lot of questioning when the Boss put out the River. Like, What is he doing? and Where's the Jersey shore sound? Turned out the Nashville influenced River was a great album! So, is The King is Dead. Missing the thematic schemes the Decemberists are known for, the album is a collection of cross-over mountain music songs. That ring through the country side with historic stories and why we Care! This is not Mark Knophler getting lost in the OPRY. Although, there might be a little to much harmonica, the signature sea shanty lilt can be found in a couple cuts. The main point here is once again we hear the outstanding lyrics of Meloy in our heads as we fall asleep at night! Enjoy this album, it's much better than the first listen reveals! Expand
  5. Feb 24, 2011
    10
    After a few more listens, I've got to up my score to a 10. This is a highly addictive album that resonates like a folk version of early REM albums (well stated reviewer altinterstate). Rox in the Box, Don't Carry it All and Dear Avery prove their worth, but so does every song on this album. This band gels perfectly with these tunes..I'd say their best effort yet and a good recovery from hazards. Expand
  6. Jan 25, 2011
    10
    Not surprisingly, "The King is Dead" is one of my favorite albums from the past decade, and is certainly in the running for album of the year, despite the fact that it's still January. The Decemberists were already at the top of my radar, and then they come out with this country sound they've made uniquely theirs, as they are so apt to do.
  7. Jan 26, 2011
    9
    What a pleasure it is to hear something refreshing and "alive". The Decemberists stick to their roots, while expanding their sound to something that I crave on a daily basis. Cudos to the Harmonica parts, where I can plug in the headphones and drift off to a place only few can take me.
  8. Feb 23, 2011
    10
    For The King Is Dead, elaborateness gives way to restraint, and it works. Oh yes...thank goodness we still have some of those noble history-recalling Decemberists lyrics we all love. But we also get a direct and hefty dose of R.E.M. influence in the person of that bandâ
  9. Apr 27, 2011
    9
    I am puzzled by the mixed reaction to the album. I think it is hands down their best collection of songs. Yes, it is somewhat less literate and grandiose than their other works. It also doesn't hold together conceptually the way most of the other ones do. I love the fact that is less musically and lyrically dense and more direct. The Hazards of Love and The Crane Wife are great albums, but this is Colin Meloy and company's finest and most memorable work. It doesn't strike me as a compromise or less distinctive. There is not a weak track and many of them are excellent. Expand
  10. Dec 15, 2012
    10
    If you like The Decemberists you are sure to love this album! It's the perfect blend of country influences, folk and alternative rock. I really have no complains about the album. Each song is good in its own way and this album is definitely worth you money.
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. Apr 12, 2011
    80
    Portland's college-rock heirs downsize with Peter Buck-featuring sixth album. [Feb. 2011, p. 106]
  2. Mar 9, 2011
    77
    A good few years on from the rise and partial Fall of the Decemberists, Meloy and Co. are managing, still, to carry the fire.
  3. Feb 1, 2011
    60
    The Decemberists have never sounded more ordinary. [Feb. 2011, p. 114]