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What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World is the seventh studio album from The Decemberists, released on January 20, 2015. The album's title comes from a line in the song "12/17/12", a reference to the date of Barack Obama's speech in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and lead singer Colin Meloy's conflicting feelings about the shooting and his happy personal life.

What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World.png
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 20, 2015 (2015-01-20)
GenreIndie rock, folk rock, indie folk
Length52:57
LabelCapitol (US), Rough Trade (Europe)
ProducerTucker Martine
The Decemberists chronology
The King Is Dead
(2011)
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
(2015)
I'll Be Your Girl
(2018)
Singles from What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
  1. "Make You Better"
    Released: November 2014
  2. "The Wrong Year"
    Released: April 6, 2015[1]

Contents

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic77/100[2]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [3]
The A.V. ClubB[4]
Chicago Tribune    [5]
The Daily Telegraph     [6]
The Guardian     [7]
Los Angeles Times    [8]
Mojo     [9]
Pitchfork5.6/10[10]
Rolling Stone     [11]
Spin7/10[12]

CriticalEdit

What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World received mostly positive reviews. It currently has a metascore of 77 from Metacritic.[2] The Boston Globe described the album as one of the band's "most enjoyable and lively efforts in recent memory",[13] The New York Times noted that What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World "strikes a note of pop concision and maturity, building on what worked on ‘The King Is Dead.’ Lyrically, there are fewer thistles and minarets and palanquins—and, musically, less digressive excess—than once made up the Decemberists’ trademark style."[14] Jeremy D. Larson of Pitchfork was a detractor, bemoaning the album as "overlong and under-ambitious", though appreciating that listeners "start to see Meloy himself more than ever". Larson also wrote highly of "Make You Better", stating, "The band has never lacked the musical bona fides to write a great anthem."[10]

CommercialEdit

The album debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart on its release, selling around 50,000 copies in the United States in its first week. It also debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums,[15] and No. 1 on the Folk Albums chart.[16] The album has sold 123,000 copies in the United States as of October 2015.[17]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Colin Meloy.[18]

No.TitleLength
1."The Singer Addresses His Audience"4:42
2."Cavalry Captain"3:17
3."Philomena"3:04
4."Make You Better"5:07
5."Lake Song"5:52
6."Till the Water's All Long Gone"5:01
7."The Wrong Year"3:53
8."Carolina Low"3:24
9."Better Not Wake the Baby"1:44
10."Anti-Summersong"2:12
11."Easy Come, Easy Go"2:22
12."Mistral"3:54
13."12/17/12"3:03
14."A Beginning Song"5:22
Total length:52:57

PersonnelEdit

According to the liner notes of What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.

The DecemberistsEdit

Additional musiciansEdit

Backup singers
  • Rachel Flotard (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14)
  • Kelly Hogan (tracks 2, 3, 9, 10, 12)
  • Laura Veirs (track 5)
  • Ragen Fykes (tracks 6, 8)
  • Moorea Masa (tracks 6, 8)
  • "The Singer Addresses His Audience" Choir: Kyleen King, Laura Veirs, Allison Hall, Bridgit Jacobson, Carson Ellis, Michael Finn, Jeremy Swatzky, Shelley Short, Steven Watkins, Ritchie Young, Moorea Masa
  • the "Anti-Summersong" Narrator Support Gang: Chris Funk, Nate Query, John Moen, Jason Colton, Tucker Martine
Strings and brass

ProductionEdit

ChartsEdit

Chart (2015) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[19] 27
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[20] 122
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[21] 27
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[22] 28
Italian Albums (FIMI)[23] 90
US Billboard 200[24] 7

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Future Releases on Triple A (AAA) Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Reviews for What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists". Metacritic. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  3. ^ Deming, Mark. "What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World – The Decemberists". AllMusic. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  4. ^ Everhart, John (January 20, 2015). "Inside The Decemberists' beguiling world". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (January 16, 2015). "Decemberists change, but fans shouldn't panic". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  6. ^ Chlilton, Martin (January 22, 2015). "The Decemberists, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, album review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  7. ^ Simpson, Dave (January 15, 2015). "The Decemberists: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World review – huge choruses in heartfelt songs". The Guardian. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  8. ^ Roberts, Randall (January 19, 2015). "New Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian albums are a lesson in confidence". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Decemberists: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World". Mojo (255): 91. February 2015.
  10. ^ a b Larson, Jeremy D. (January 19, 2015). "The Decemberists: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  11. ^ Hermes, Will (January 20, 2015). "The Decemberists: What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  12. ^ Aftandilians, Natasha (January 21, 2015). "Review: The Decemberists Scale Back on 'What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World'". Spin. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  13. ^ "CD Review: The Decemberists, 'What a Beautiful World, What a Terrible World'". The Boston Globe.
  14. ^ "New Releases From the Decemberists, Hanni El Khatib and Duane Eubanks". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "Top Rock Albums". Billboard. February 7, 2015.
  16. ^ "Folk Albums". Billboard. February 7, 2015.
  17. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2014-12-03. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  22. ^ "Charts.org.nz – The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World". Hung Medien. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  23. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 4 (dal 19-01-2015 al 25-01-2015)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Archived from the original on 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  24. ^ "The Decemberists Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 5, 2015.