Friday, October 2, 2009

10. The Decemberists - The Engine Driver (2005)

Colin Meloy is one of the greatest storytellers in contemporary music. The vast majority of Decemberist songs sound as if they were sung straight out of a novel written decades almost need a dictionary to understand some of the lyrics. This song breaks through all of the literary trappings though, and is all the more beautiful for it. Sitting right in the middle of the last non-prog Decemberists album Picaresque (also their best), it's also one of the more autobiographical songs in the Decemberists catalog. Instead of speaking about a peasant boy or some similar person as he so often does, Meloy seems to sing in the first-person, even describing himself as 'a writer of fictions'. Backed with accordion and glockenspiel, this is one of the best of all Decemberist songs.

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