Guilty Pleasures Anonymous: The Decemberists

Hi, I’m Tom, and I’ve been secretly streaming The Decemberists for the past seven years.

It all started one fateful winter’s day: I was wrapped in a blanket, coffee in one hand and a Hob Nob in the other, tuned in for another episode of How I Met Your Mother. That alone should be cause for a separate guilty pleasure post.

Ted Mosby was an architect who was daring to dream, pushing himself through some hard times, and at the time of my GCSEs I too thought I was going through tough times – it wasn’t until I started university that I learned how puny my problems actually were. Then I heard the jangly rhythm of the guitar and some sad lyrics about wanting to be better than you what you are now. It was ‘Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect’ by The Decemberists. Because I was relating so much to Ted, we were practically the same person, I just had to keep listening to this song. I quickly grabbed my phone, searched the song, and instantly I was hooked – it was like discovering The Smiths, without having a problematic frontman to gloss over. The lyrics had depth, the guitar had groove and, most of all, the voice was that of an angel.

I soon started telling my friends. Tragically, none of them intervened with my problem or questioned why I liked them. Later that week, I was watching some comedy skits on YouTube and saw this bloke making jokes about this newly discovered band of mine. The jokes were centred around how soppy men who listened to them were, alongside many misogynistic takes on the woman a man who listens to The Decemberists would date. When I checked social media for people talking about the band, I soon realised they were less than loved in the public eye.

I began covering my tracks, making private playlists, appearing offline, but it was no use. I couldn’t hide my love for the band. I watched live sets where a bunch of bearded happy-go-lucky middle-aged men in trilbies would sing along in the crowd. I wanted to be there. I sat there in my straight-cut jeans and Pretty Green t-shirt wondering what was wrong with me.

I don’t think my love will ever die for this band; they have fashion which can only be rivalled by Mumford and Sons, lyrics which feature in Morrissey’s wet dreams and a jingly guitar which could quite frankly make Ed Sheeran cry. Frankly, my love for the band only strengthened when I started to relate to just about every song of theirs I heard, given that all their songs are based on love. I proceeded to reorder their most recent album on vinyl and will allow my love for them to continue way into their future, filling my head with hopeless romance and heartfelt instruments. Shameful or shameless– either way I’m too far gone.

Give in to temptation: listen to The Decemberists on Spotify and Apple Music. And while we’ve got you, grab a copy of our print magazine HERE.

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