O Valencia!


I love a good narrative song, and a good blood feud, and a good updating of Romeo and Juliet. And all of those things in one, of course. This being The Decemberists, though, the tale of gang rivalry is about as raw-nerve relevant as the misadventures of the Ancient Mariner. That is, an intellectual curiosity, a quizzical stretch of the poetic imagination. Hence the music video that’s more Wes Anderson than anything that might occur in the real world, or even on an episode of The Sopranos. But we don’t turn to The Decemberists for verisimilitude or social commentary; they occupy the intellectual high ground of the NPR demographic, the elite circle of New Yorker subscribers, the endangered American Proffessitariat. We are the demimonde who reward ourselves for getting each other’s obscure literary references with an extra helping of Pinot Noir. We sagely pretend to remember a time when Gore Vidal was relevant. We care deeply and hypothetically about social issues we’ve never experienced. We know what tagliatelle is and how to pronounce it. Colin Meloy is our rock god.

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