Song of the Day: The Decemberists, “California One/ Youth and Beauty Brigade”

The Decemberists have a new album coming out, and I’m all giddy about the prospect of them touring. It’s been too long since I’ve seen them play live. They’re one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. One of the funniest moments was in September of 2009, when a hurricane tracked in from the gulf of Mexico. The wild weather made it all the way up to DFW. They were playing the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth, and they made it into a kind of hurricane event, playing all of their long songs and getting the crowd to be interactive.

This song is not off their new album. It’s the long, last song on Castaways and Cutouts. Em and I listened to it on the way back into FSM last weekend. It somehow fit the drive along Garrison, with the slightly sad leftover snowflake lights. The Decemberists specialize in long songs that tell stories. Every album is conceptually a narrative, more or less. I particularly like the last part of the song: “we’re lining up all the light loafers and the board bench warmers/ Castaways and cutouts, fill it up/Come and join the youth and beauty brigade” and “They said son, go join up/ go join the youth and beauty brigade.”


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