There was a time that I didn't really care who The Decemberists were. I had never heard them, but the way people talked about them made me think I wouldn't like them. I eventually checked out this album on the recommendation of a friend, and it is a great album. Every song is an individual masterpiece on its own while holding together to create a solid work of art all together.
To truly talk about this album the way it deserves to be talked about, I would have to go into each song individually. I may do that someday on a future post, but for the purposes of this Top 10 list I'll be brief. Frontman Colin Meloy writes lyrics like 19th-century novels, and the band sets those lyrics to music that is a unique blend of folk and rock that transcends folk-rock with a variety of instruments. The title tracks are based on an old folk tale (a shortened version of which can be found here, along with lyrics to the songs), and the stories themes can be felt throughout most of the songs, making this a sort of concept album.
The album's only real flaw is that it's not the album that has their best song, "The Mariner's Revenge Song."
Favorite Tracks: all parts of "The Crane Wife," "The Island," "O Valencia!," "Summersong," and the bonus track "The Culling Of The Fold"