Tag Archives: song meanings

The Annotated Decemberists No. 12: “Cocoon”

The lyrics are impressionistic, aside from a clear, early reference to the victims of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius—a tragedy that may or may not keep coming up throughout the song and may or may not serve as a stand-in for the tragedy of 9/11. Who knows? The meaning of a dream is rarely overt. More likely, you’re left with just the feelings it inspired—and everyone you describe it to is going to have a different interpretation. Continue reading

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The Annotated Decemberists No. 11: Odalisque

Now, my knowledge of firearms is limited at best, but I do know this: You load shotgun cartridges with rock salt, not rifles. (At least I’m pretty sure, based on 30 minutes of research and a few Tarantino movies.) Continue reading

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The Annotated Decemberists No. 8: “Here I Dreamt I was an Architect”

Perhaps no band’s lyrics better lend themselves to pseudo-academic analysis than those of The Decemberists. The Annotated Decemberists is an attempt to puzzle through the Portland, Oregon, group’s entire catalog song by song—examining all the obscure vocabulary, historical references and poetic subtext—or … Continue reading

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The Annotated Decemberists No. 7: “Leslie Anne Levine”

Perhaps no band’s lyrics better lend themselves to pseudo-academic analysis than those of The Decemberists. The Annotated Decemberists is an attempt to puzzle through the Portland, Oregon, group’s entire catalog song by song—examining all the obscure vocabulary, historical references and poetic subtext—or … Continue reading

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The Annotated Decemberists No. 6: “The Apology Song”

The sixth and final entry from The Decemberists’ debut EP, Five Songs. Yes, you read that right. There are six songs on Five Songs. Continue reading

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The Annotated Decemberists No. 2: “Shiny”

In his typical, understated fashion, The Decemberists’ songwriter Colin Meloy has said little about this ballad other than, “This is a song about a gypsy.” In it, a dejected narrator pines over a young carny with tan skin, vintage footwear and strangely bewitching eyes. Continue reading

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The Annotated Decemberists No. 1: ‘Oceanside’

I don’t want to dwell too much on the song’s title because it might just be a pretty word, but there’s something odd about trying to get someone to come “oceanside” when they’re already at the beach. Continue reading

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