The King Is Dead - The Decemberists
User Score

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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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. Collapse
  6. Jan 25, 2011
    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 22, 2011
    It's so hard to be the Decemberists these days. They tried too hard with "Hazards of Love" and now they tried not to try hard with "King Is Dead". Solid opening song and last song but the middle is filled with pure crap. Its corny and unimaginative and basically celebrates everything I don't like about the Decemberists. Sorry to be so negative I just was really excited for this album and it really let me down. Made me run to "The Crane Wife". Now that's a masterpiece. Expand
  8. May 30, 2011
    Maybe some of the band's quirkiness and complex ambition has taken a back seat for "The King Is Dead". That said,Meloy's skilful song writing remains intact and for much of this album his creations remain deeply engaging.
  9. Jan 26, 2011
    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.
  10. Jan 26, 2011
    I'm not sure if the Decemberists are capable (anymore, I didn't care for their first release) of making an album you could rate less than a '7' when compared to other albums being released by other artists. Given, initially this LP sounded like the kind of EP an artist puts out to hold you over 'til the next great thing they always seem to do. I thought they backslid just a tad on their 'concept' album, but after the two previous albums, a '9' and a '10' in my opinion, I could forgive it and wait for the next CLASSIC. But I think even the band knew this wasn't gonna be it. I like it though. Unassuming, and it definitely has it's moments. Expand
  11. Feb 4, 2011
    An album that is neither a feat nor a failure; it is simply music. This may be to your liking, or perhaps not. Depending on what kind of mood you are in, or what kind of listener you are in general. The King is Dead is very listenable in my opinion. It has a pristine sound to it, as usual with the Decemberists, but also steps out of its box. This is not a general Decemberists album, it is very much like a Neil Young album with a Decemberists twist to it. The harmonica is a great player on the album. Kudos to the Decemberists for giving us something interesting to listen to. Expand
  12. Feb 23, 2011
    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
  13. Apr 27, 2011
    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
  14. Jan 8, 2012
    This album has a concept. Which is good. But a little boring. Actually, the change of music style (rock-central base folk) don't move the band forward, but the CD continues to be great, but don't have the greatness of their first, "Her Majesty The Decemberists" or even "The Hazards of Love".
  15. Apr 30, 2012
    Really good album from American folk rock band The Decemberists. It's more country than their previous efforts - I think Gillian Welch's presence on the majority of tracks adds to the country feel. It's got a serious R.E.M vibe going on throughout with a touch of Springsteens folkier moments but the record never really matches anything those artists put out. A very solid record but won't appeal to everyone. Expand
  16. Jul 14, 2012
    This is Colin Meloy's excellent songwriting, sans the inane Baroque love stories and overly embellished vocabulary. Definitely their most accessible release to date, which surely means some of their longtime fans will probably hate it because it's too "mainstream" or something. You'll like it, though.
  17. Dec 15, 2012
    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.

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
    Portland's college-rock heirs downsize with Peter Buck-featuring sixth album. [Feb. 2011, p. 106]
  2. Mar 9, 2011
    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
    The Decemberists have never sounded more ordinary. [Feb. 2011, p. 114]