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The Decemberists — Calamity Song
Album: The King Is Dead
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1852









Released: 2011
Length: 3:41
Plays (last 30 days): 4
Had a dream
You and me and the war of the end-times
And I believe
California succumbed to the fault line
We heaved relief
As scores of innocents died

And the Andalusian tribes
Setting the lay of Nebraska alight
Till all that remains is the arms of the angels

Hetty Green
Queen of supply-side bonhomie bone-drab
You know what I mean?
On the road
It's well advised that you follow your own bag
In the year of the chewable Ambien tab

And the Panamanian child
Stands at the dowager empress's side
And all that remains is the arms of the angels
And all that remains is the arms of the angels

Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh
Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh

When you've receded into loam
And they're picking at your bones
We'll come home
We'll come home

Quiet now
Will we gather to conjure the rain down?
Will we now
Build a civilization below ground?
And I'll be crowned the community kick-it-around

And the Andalusian tribes
Setting the lay of Nebraska alight
Till all that remains is the arms of the angels
Till all that remains is the arms of the angels

Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh
Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh

Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh
Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh
Comments (246)add comment
I always heard "war of the enzymes" and since I like science...
 pcicatar wrote:

This is because Peter Buck (R.E.M. guitarist) is featured all throughout the album...  It helps lend the air of the world's most pretentious R.E.M. tribute album.
 
And this song in particular out-Stipes Michael in the obscure lyrics category.
"Hetty Green: Queen of supply-side bonhomie bone-drab
You know what I mean?"

Not a clue. 

But thanks for the peppy little song. 
"the war of the enzymes"
Hetty Green
Queen of supply-side bonhomie bone-drab
You know what I mean?
On the road
It's well advised that you follow your own bag
In the year of the chewable Ambien tab


OK, here's a clue in the lyrics that I long overlooked

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
 Proclivities wrote:
This is the only song I've heard which mentions Hetty Green.
 
It's not the Decemberists if the lyrics don't contain at least one reference that is unique in the whole canon of popular music.
Craptastic. Ahoooo
What a fun song! Really digging the Decemberists.
 dsd wrote:
If these guys are really as lame as many on this board believe, then I wonder why Peter Buck decided to play with them?
 
The same reason Peter Buck enjoys DJ'ing - He's rich beyond our understanding, has lots of free time, and has low expectations on the return for investment.
 Grammarcop wrote:
Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh
Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh!

Not quite as profound as do-be-do-be-do but still deep stuff. 
 
lots of fun to sing along to!
Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh
Ah-oo
Ah-oo-oh!

Not quite as profound as do-be-do-be-do but still deep stuff. 
 Laptopdog wrote:
Everybody sing along, " Talk about the passio...." 

Whoops, never mind.
 
ahooo...but yes, the chords are similar
The Decemberists at their toe-tappin' best!
Everybody sing along, " Talk about the passio...." 

Whoops, never mind.
One of their greats.  I think I read that the lyrics came from a dream, but it really doesn't matter either way.  The lyrics here are beautiful and rhythmical, and the folk rock sound is pretty much as great as any folk rock around.  I guess you can fault the song for not being immediately accessible.  It's more "I Am the Walrus" than "Imagine."  But, as with the former, just find your own meaning and enjoy.  Finally, if you have a problem with Colin Meloy's voice, you kind of remind me of the loser I was years ago when I needed it all to sound rock and roll or nothing else.  Open your brain a liitle.
 ziggytrix wrote:
"Queen of supply-side bonhomie bone-drab
You know what I mean?"

Not a fuckin clue, brother. 



(edit: darn, someone already made this joke)
 

Hetty  Green was the richest woman in America, in the era of J P Morgan, but lived so frugally that after she died, her bathroom soap dish was found to have four tiny scraps of soap in it instead of the fresh bar that she could have afforded 10,000,000 times over. (Based of memory of reading about her in Guinness Book of World Records in 1970)
If these guys are really as lame as many on this board believe, then I wonder why Peter Buck decided to play with them?
 kingart wrote:
Wow.  Those lyrics sound very serious:

You and me and the war of the enzymes 
 
Hahaha! That's what I always thought he was singing!
Thought this was 10000 Maniacs before Meloy started singing...
Jeez, y'all think this guy's voice is irritating but you like Thom Yorke's?
 

Anyway, i like 'em and they're fun in concert.  Hatas gonna hate!
 ziggytrix wrote:
"Queen of supply-side bonhomie bone-drab
You know what I mean?"

Not a fuckin clue, brother. 



(edit: darn, someone already made this joke)
 

Maybe it's Meloy's homage to Mountain's Mississippi Queen? Never knew wth that was about either.
Wow.  Those lyrics sound very serious:

You and me and the war of the enzymes 
"Queen of supply-side bonhomie bone-drab
You know what I mean?"

Not a fuckin clue, brother. 



(edit: darn, someone already made this joke)
Boy, Michael Stipes' voice sure has changed over the years.
This is the only song I've heard which mentions Hetty Green.
blahhh. How can such an upbeat-sounding tune be so boring?
 bluejay08003 wrote:
This sounds more derogatory than I mean it, but this song goes down like a basket of great french fries.  It isn't great food, and I really enjoy it while it's there in my mouth/ears.  Only afterward I'm left kind of feeling blah.  And if I get too much of it, I start to like it even less.

I guess the quotations/riffs/rip-offs that sound like "Pretty Persuasion" and "Harborcoat" and "Second Guessing" help it go down, but when it's over I realize that I wouldn't seek it out if it weren't served up. 

When it's on = 7
When it's over = 4.5
 
Reminds me of a Monty Python bit, paraphrasing.
"The Decembrists are like a dose of the clap. When they arrive, there is pleasure. But afterwards, there's a pain in the dong".
 Baby_M wrote:
The only thing worse than apocalyptic mass destruction leading to millions or billions of deaths is Colin Meloy singing about apocalyptic mass destruction leading to millions or billions of deaths and sounding so damned bored by it all.
 
Hey, Bill just read your comment Baby.... you have reached RP Heights.  I long for Bill reading mine someday. I can only wish for the day. Nice work Baby !
My ears tell me this is great, and we enjoyed them live too.
Talk about the passiooooon
Fantastic segue.  The intro always reminds me of REM.
Aaaaooooooo, Werewolves of What the hell don.
Maybe my fav Decembrists tune. 
But I have barely a clue to what he's actually singing about. 
SO MUCH LIKE REM, it's as invigorating as it is sing-along-ic! Even the drumming is so much like early REM...I love the connections...
 TJOpootertoot wrote:
...How can anyone hate a song with an arpeggiating Rickenbacker 12-string guitar?  Especially when it's actually played by Peter Buck...

 
Yes, there is good guitar sound and it's musically a good tune, but to me it's overwhelmed by the vocal gymnastics.
 TJOpootertoot wrote:
...How can anyone hate a song with an arpeggiating Rickenbacker 12-string guitar?  Especially when it's actually played by Peter Buck...

 
Yes, that is sweet guitar sound and it's musically a good tune, but to me it's overwhelmed by the vocal gymnastics.
Queen of supply-side bonhomie bone-drab
You know what I mean?


No, actually, I don't know what you mean. 
The whole song, for that matter. 
Although it is more tuneful than a lot of other Decembrist nouveau. 
 hayduke2 wrote:
the opening of this "song" gets me bolting across the room to psd it, oy it stinks

 
Love it. Borrows a bit from REM's "Me in Honey."
Plus, this has a great, fun video that earns major bonus points for those who've made their way through the many pages of Infinite Jest.

How can anyone hate a song with an arpeggiating Rickenbacker 12-string guitar?  Especially when it's actually played by Peter Buck...
"...the war of the enzymes"?
The only thing worse than apocalyptic mass destruction leading to millions or billions of deaths is Colin Meloy singing about apocalyptic mass destruction leading to millions or billions of deaths and sounding so damned bored by it all.
When 'Picaresque' came out, one review said something like if they weren't his band, Colin Meloy would immediately get fired for his vocal delivery. But he's grown on me, and I don't quite understand why 'Picaresque's best songs (Engine Driver, Bagman's Gambit) aren't on RP.
 hayduke2 wrote:
the opening of this "song" gets me bolting across the room to psd it, oy it stinks

 
Not an REM fan then?
 hayduke2 wrote:
the opening of this "song" gets me bolting across the room to psd it, oy it stinks

 

Who knew these guys could craft a nice little pop tune?
the opening of this "song" gets me bolting across the room to psd it, oy it stinks
Awful voice....drab and monotone. {#Frustrated}
 bluejay08003 wrote:
This sounds more derogatory than I mean it, but this song goes down like a basket of great french fries.  It isn't great food, and I really enjoy it while it's there in my mouth/ears.  Only afterward I'm left kind of feeling blah.  And if I get too much of it, I start to like it even less.

I guess the quotations/riffs/rip-offs that sound like "Pretty Persuasion" and "Harborcoat" and "Second Guessing" help it go down, but when it's over I realize that I wouldn't seek it out if it weren't served up. 

When it's on = 7
When it's over = 4.5

 
"Great French fries" doesn't seem like a derogatory comparison to me and I usually feel pretty good after eating good fries - unless I eat way too many.  I generally like the instrumentation and production of this band but that guy's voice and the Renaissance-fair affectation that he often deploys can get a little grating sometimes, though not quite as much in this tune.
 Sloggydog wrote:
I agree with earlier comments definitely very IRS years REM

 
This is because Peter Buck (R.E.M. guitarist) is featured all throughout the album...  It helps lend the air of the world's most pretentious R.E.M. tribute album.
 lily34 wrote:
this could be retired any time now. awful.

 
It totally sucks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuSnLfr24pM

She was 17. BTW.


Not totally horrible, but I still say this one should be tossed off of some vast veranda.
I agree with earlier comments definitely very IRS years REM
A Decembrists song that is not entirely annoying.
What everyone else said
this could be retired any time now. awful.
 bluejay08003 wrote:
This sounds more derogatory than I mean it, but this song goes down like a basket of great french fries.  It isn't great food, and I really enjoy it while it's there in my mouth/ears.  Only afterward I'm left kind of feeling blah.  And if I get too much of it, I start to like it even less.

I guess the quotations/riffs/rip-offs that sound like "Pretty Persuasion" and "Harborcoat" and "Second Guessing" help it go down, but when it's over I realize that I wouldn't seek it out if it weren't served up. 

When it's on = 7
When it's over = 4.5

 
I totally get this.

So no rating from me. 
This album is an all-time top 10 favorite. A real masterpiece front to back. This song is 7, and there are several 10s.

Interesting, I didn't realize Peter Buck was on this one, though hearing the guitar I totally believe it.  Thanks for the info, Bill.


Crap.
I always think that this is vintage REM - and I am always surprised when I see (& then remember that I already knew) that its the Decemberists.

I don't know if that's good or bad -- or neither...

I think that I really like the song -- but I also want it to end.  So strange...
 hencini wrote:

These guys are like the Strokes for me. Once upon a time I thought they might save rock 'n' roll, but then yeah no. 


 
I think I officially stopped reading the music press with the ole "Strokes are going to save rock" campaign.  What a joke.  What a group of clowns.  You Rpeeps know more about music than those paid parrot foolz
Hey, it's Monsters and Mumford and the Decemberist Lumineers covering early R.E.M.!! Awesome!! 

These guys are like the Strokes for me. Once upon a time I thought they might save rock 'n' roll, but then yeah no. 

And it's not that I find it horribly offensive to the ears, but I imagine this is what hipsters hear in elevators. 
 kcar wrote:

But the chair is not his son

 
Good point!   Lol
Just visited the 'comments' section to see what fellow listeners think of these guys. What a treat to see I'm not alone. I don't care for their sound either. 
which of his orifices is producing this sick bleating noise? Perhaps if they stuck a Karo-gelled kazoo in it he would not be in such pain 
There's chewable Ambien?
 JetC615 wrote:
For some reason, this band is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. Yuck!
 

I cringe every time they play  {#Grumpy}
I have absolutely had enough of these dullards.
Delightfully dull.
For some reason, this band is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. Yuck!
 Imkirok wrote:
Had a dream, you and me and the war of the enzymes?



 
But the chair is not his son
Had a dream, you and me and the war of the enzymes?


This sounds more derogatory than I mean it, but this song goes down like a basket of great french fries.  It isn't great food, and I really enjoy it while it's there in my mouth/ears.  Only afterward I'm left kind of feeling blah.  And if I get too much of it, I start to like it even less.

I guess the quotations/riffs/rip-offs that sound like "Pretty Persuasion" and "Harborcoat" and "Second Guessing" help it go down, but when it's over I realize that I wouldn't seek it out if it weren't served up. 

When it's on = 7
When it's over = 4.5
 suggettsmiss wrote:
It's o.k. Are they a R.E.M. tribute band?

 
Maybe they should ask Michael Stipe to do the vocals. I don't like the guy's voice.
2nd Decemberists song I've heard that I thought was vintage REM at first!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EguUqIOz5po

Ha, and just after I posted this i read the comments below. Thanks for explaining, folks! 
 redfern777 wrote:
suggettsmiss wrote:
It's o.k. Are they a R.E.M. tribute band?
 

Peter Buck of R.E.M. is playing guitar on this track (and plays on 2 others on the album).

 
I'd say anytime he wants to play in my band, ok with me.  {#Clap}
Arrrrrrrr ooooooooooooooooh ....{#Daisy}love this 
Yep, R.E.M

I do love the Decemberists, but this album isn't their best.
Still very listenable, but seems more commercial - plus the obvious, albeit reasonable, R.E.M impersonation :) 

EDIT: Ohh - and now reading a comment further down, it dawns on me why and much kudos to them! Peter Buck is playing guitar...

Now I feel like a fool, but at least I didn't delete my full comment :) 
very overplayed indeed, especially considering this howling really sucks. how many more sucko-barfos will it take? amazing. makes my ears bleed every time...
I feel like I'm going to be hearing this song every day for the rest of my life.  I don't even hate the Decemberists (and I still like their old stuff a good deal), but PLEASE make it stop...
suggettsmiss wrote:
It's o.k. Are they a R.E.M. tribute band?
 

Peter Buck of R.E.M. is playing guitar on this track (and plays on 2 others on the album).
this song is way, way overplayed. spare us, please
Is this album any more positive than their previous two?... let me restate... all albums are happier than their previous two.  Is this a happy/positive album?
Love this song - I have to get this CD.
It's o.k. Are they a R.E.M. tribute band?
"All that remains is the arms of the angels." {yodels}  "AAAAHHH OOOOOOOO!"

— I pause to think —                                 Interesting.
 stevendejong wrote:
Fantastic. Love this song every time I hear it.

 
Me too!   I love it
Fantastic. Love this song every time I hear it.
6 plays in the last 30 days?  Why can't we hear each song only once month. 
Ignoring the haters... Like this song!
 
Awesome song on a great album!
 stevendejong wrote:
Lyrically interestingly, delivered with passion, nice to the ears. What else do we need.

 
..more cowbell?..
 oldfart48 wrote:
WAY OVERPLAYED, BILL. your counter is off by 20 plays, iat least, 'i've heard this every day this year. i know because i'm layed up with a slipped disk. nothing going on except pare-o-dice.
 
agreed. overplayed.
WAY OVERPLAYED, BILL. your counter is off by 20 plays, iat least, 'i've heard this every day this year. i know because i'm layed up with a slipped disk. nothing going on except pare-o-dice.
Me too.
I just LOVE this song and this album!
You and me and the war of the enzymes . . . 
 le_colonel wrote:
I'm not in a generous mood today but this is pretty bad even by generous standards...

3. 
 
Wow. I'm not a huge Decembrists fan, but, well, yah, you're in a bad mood.  {#Meditate}
Going to see them at the Ryman here in Nashville (where else would the Ryman Auditorium be).  I post apres-show and enumerate the cutters, emos and southern women with Too Much Rouge and Big Hairdos ...
Lyrically interestingly, delivered with passion, nice to the ears. What else do we need.
I'm not in a generous mood today but this is pretty bad even by generous standards...

3. 
This makes me happy!
I'm ignoring the likers...Hate this song
I'm ignoring the haters, I like this song.
When did REM get so lame? Oh wait it's the Decemberists..that explains it..PSD
I like the whole album. Granted, it did get a bit over played for awhile after it was released. That seems to have settled down. I'm always happy to hear a track from this band.
"Ahh oooooh, ahh oooo ooooh girl" <—Channeling the Werewolf of London?!? {#Angel}
 joelbb wrote:
I'm not sure how one gets bummed out by a song that parodies so many hip-world themes.  The dissers below must have problems w/ clinical depression.  Or just lack of taste.  This is my favorite Decembrists' song.  I'll give it an 8.
 
Not clinically depressed, but am entitled to an opinion. On a forum where everyone is expressing their individual feelings about the  songs, it is possible that not everyone will agree with your particular tastes. Just sayin'. 
I'm not sure how one gets bummed out by a song that parodies so many hip-world themes.  The dissers below must have problems w/ clinical depression.  Or just lack of taste.  This is my favorite Decembrists' song.  I'll give it an 8.
This song bums me out.
the beginning notes always make me think it's going to be a replacements song.

then i hear what it really is.

then i hit the PSD.

these guys get on my nerves, bigtime.
I don't like the lead singer's voice, even when he does the "Werewolves of London" ahhoooo thing.
{#Bananajam} banana dancing to the beat!!!!! sometimes

Same sound as REM on this one.


Love this song, and this album.
Trying to rest my ears from the headphones is proving impossible...  Van Morrison, "Goodnight Moon" and now the Decemberists.  The "PSD" button is getting really lonely... 
 kingart wrote:
Better the Decembrists than Arcade Fire. 
 

Amen to that
Pleasant, uncomplicated and rolls along, a nice Jolly song ..given me a lift... Thanks Bill
Becoming daily and repetitious,all together burnt out,sucko barfo.😖😖😖
 hayduke2 wrote:

well I don't usually bother to comment on sucky groups, but let me gladly join your league of anti-decemberists
I hate them 
I leave the room when I hear his sick nasal bleating noise, or I mute them out, really don't like anything by them
 
Nyahh.