Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Touch of campfire in Colin Meloy

Although some critics may say only fans of The Decemberists
could enjoy a Colin Meloy live album, this is not the case with his latest
release, Colin Meloy Sings Live!. While the lack of musical
backup in songs from his 2006 solo tour collection would leave most a bit
bored, this album manages to keep listeners engaged throughout the entire
compilation as Meloy uses only his voice and guitar to highlight his strong
songwriting abilities.

Singing of love and woe, Meloy makes listeners feel as
though they are part of the live audience. ?He gives listeners a glimpse
of his engaging stage personality, and he even includes tracks solely devoted
to his stage presence. Telling jokes and promoting audience participation,
Meloy also laughs and sings along with his devoted fans.

On one track, Meloy shares what he believes to be the worst
song he ever wrote, “Dracula’s Daughter,” admitting he does not know
how he managed to write as much of it as he did. With lyrics like “You
think you’ve got it bad/ Try having Dracula for your dad,” I think most of
us would have to agree.


This song and “Wonder” were unreleased prior to Colin
Sings Live!. As for the rest of the album, Meloy uses songs
from his band The Decemberists, his first band Tarkio and interjections from
songs by Fleetwood Mac, Shirley Collins and The Smiths. The song “We Both
Go Down Together” feels sadly empty without its well-known instrumentals,
while tracks “Barbara Allen,” “On the Bus Mall” and
“Bandit Queen” are more funny folk tunes that sound almost like
ballads from a lost musical as they tell stories of relationships.

“Devil’s Elbow,” “The Gymnast, High Above the
Ground” and “California One/Youth and Beauty/Ask” are a mellow
mix of tracks, fitting background music for a classy restaurant. “Here I
Dream I Was an Architect,” “The Bachelor and the Bride” and
“Red Right Ankle,” on the other hand, are more upbeat, sing-songy
tracks that — as Meloy puts it — create a campfire feel. Consequently, he has
the audience sing parts of the refrain in “The Engine Driver.”

While the album as a whole is slow and devoid of energy at
times, Meloy’s personality and lyrics and the audience’s participation are what
make Colin Meloy Sings Live! worthy of Decemberists fans’
well-earned dollars.


4 out of 5 stars

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *