The new Decemberists album The King is Dead debuted at #1 on this week’s Billboard 200 chart. The album sold a career-high 94,000 copies its first week, surpassing initial estimates of approximately 70,000.
It’s great to see that indie-folk goodness can earn a #1 position on the Billboard 200 these days. Last week, rockers Cake beat pop queen Taylor Swift for #1 with Showroom of Compassion. One could argue that these bands are topping charts due to lack of competition. But this may also be an indication of change in our society’s music taste. The coming weeks will be telling with new albums from Bright Eyes, Iron & Wine and PJ Harvey.
The King is Dead is a break from the band’s rock-opera theme created for their last two albums, The Crane Wife and The Hazards of Love. It is a much simpler set of 10 songs. In an interview with NPR, Colin Meloy — the band’s lead singer — said this about the change in direction, “I think once we had done The Hazards of Love, I think I had reached the apotheosis of the possibilities of what I was doing. And it was really a time to pull it back a bit, and sort of rediscover the music that I sort of have in my bones from being a kid, and music that got me playing music to begin with.” You can read more about the album here.
You can hear The King is Dead in it’s entirety this week at NPR’s First Listen.