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The Decemberists — Down By The Water
Album: The King Is Dead
Avg rating:
7.2

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2927









Released: 2011
Length: 3:37
Plays (last 30 days): 3
See this ancient riverbed
See where all my folly's led
Down by the water and down by the old main drag

I was just some tow-head teen
Feeling 'round for fingers to get in between
Down by the water and down by the old main drag

The season rubs me wrong
The summer swells anon
So knock me down, tear me up
But I would bear it all broken just to fill my cup
Down by the water and down by the old main drag

Sweet descend this rabble 'round
The pretty little patter of a seaport town
Rolling in the water and rolling down the old main drag

All dolled up in gabardine
The lash-flashing Leda of pier nineteen
Queen of the water and queen of the old main drag

The season rubs me wrong
The summer swells anon
So knock me down, tear me up
But I would bear it all broken just to fill my cup
Down by the water and down by the old main drag

The season rubs me wrong
The summer swells anon
So knock me down, tear me up
But I would bear it all broken just to fill my cup
Down by the water and down by the old main drag
Down by the water and down by the old main drag
Down by the water and down by the old main drag
Comments (192)add comment
y'all keep bringing up REM. How bout Shane?!
Anyway, despite the derivative, pretty catchy tune innit?
 BiffP wrote:

Never understood why this band is so popular.



It's because the band is "good", but there is such a HUGE void of really good bands (like in the 1970s)  that a "good" band gets elevated attention (e.g., Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, etc.).  



 
 lily34 wrote:


same.
possibly why i like this and music by uni kids or from other places is to hear lyrics with phrases that aren't familiar - the use of the word anon to rhyme with wrong is a bit of a laugh but who else writes about gaberdine anymore? hahaha
'the pretty little patter of a seaport town'? love the line and would never have associated the words.
written by an english major? nah, just love quirky writing. and Gillian Welch!

 vlale wrote:

Wtf Bill....when did you bacome a country station. I have skipped 8 songs that were country before...this.....after 16 years?



The Decemberists are not Country and this album could best be described as Americana. Switch to the Rock Mix if it bothers you so much.
Wtf Bill....when did you bacome a country station. I have skipped 8 songs that were country before...this.....after 16 years?
 BiffP wrote:

Never understood why this band is so popular.



same.
 rrowdies wrote:


Not sure if you're joking but that was actually Gillian Welch on the backup vocals and, as far as I know, and I've seen these guys three times, Jenny does not sing, only keyboards. I could be wrong, but probably not.



The album booklet says: backing vocals by Gillian Welch.
 tomperth1 wrote:

Jenny Conlee's vocals are sublime - such an integral part of The Decemberist's sound.



Not sure if you're joking but that was actually Gillian Welch on the backup vocals and, as far as I know, and I've seen these guys three times, Jenny does not sing, only keyboards. I could be wrong, but probably not.
Love this track as much today as I did back then.  
Still sing along, foot tapping ...

❤️
Think this is the best version as the female voice is mixed high enough to hear it & so its broadly equal
Admiral Freebee - The Gardener (2021)

Down By The Water: The Decemberists 7 to 8

I love how it starts out like an old Bruce Springsteen song ~, and then shows off the unique, raw, and vital sound of this here amazing band!
 glennon6274 wrote:

    save me fredricksburg va  federal witsec witness in trouble



 glennon6274 wrote:






 nlarsen1 wrote:

I liked this song better when REM did it.




Never understood why this band is so popular.
 Larrygrrl wrote:
Playing this right after Roxy Music "Love is the Drug" is truly coitus interruptus!
 

Look after the king of R n R please 
 nlarsen1 wrote:
I liked this song better when REM did it.
 Funny!  
Peter Buck is featured.  But that is one reason why I enjoy this Most Excellent track!


Playing this right after Roxy Music "Love is the Drug" is truly coitus interruptus!
 DaidyBoy wrote:
I've just enjoyed their Tiny Desk thingy on the youtubes.  Tight and mellow.  Talented folks, I feel, and some lovely songwriting.  I need to listen selectively, though, because a lot of it's a bit too beardy for my ears.

edit;  now I've seen them live, I still feel the same, but they are great.  To my ears, of course.
 Too Beardy. LOL. Stealing this.

The second I read this was the second that instrument before the harmonica kicked in - that's the part that sounds like Mellencamp. Love it. Love Mellencamp.

 SinisterDexter wrote:
Interesting, this actually has a Mellencamp vibe to it. Maybe it's the harmonica...
 

Jenny Conlee's vocals are sublime - such an integral part of The Decemberist's sound.
This one had me at the harmonica intro.
I liked this song better when REM did it.
 DaidyBoy wrote:
I've just enjoyed their Tiny Desk thingy on the youtubes.  Tight and mellow.  Talented folks, I feel, and some lovely songwriting.  I need to listen selectively, though, because a lot of it's a bit too beardy for my ears.

edit;  now I've seen them live, I still feel the same, but they are great.  To my ears, of course.
 

Beardy?  
 studioDEC wrote:
I killed the vibe at a karaoke party last weekend by doing the Decemberists "Mariners Revenge Song".. it's like 8 minutes long!  I perhaps should have chosen this gem.
 

At least you didn't do "Hocus Pocus" by Focus...
I killed the vibe at a karaoke party last weekend by doing the Decemberists "Mariners Revenge Song".. it's like 8 minutes long!  I perhaps should have chosen this gem.
  Love the music, love the voice..raised from 7 to 8
I like the music.  His singing though irritates me to no end.  It's not his problem.  It's mine and I just can't get over it.  I'll keep listening though.  Maybe one day...I'll break through.
"And the winner, for the band most enthusiastic about the month of December, for the fifth year in a row, is..."
9 -> 10
haters gonna hate
 TJOpootertoot wrote:
 Tim_Coletti wrote:
"This One Goes Out to the One I Love..."  


That is Peter Buck playing those arpeggios, so you ain't wrong.
 

Also, Colin Meloy has said that the primary influence for this whole album is R.E.M.  Which is why Peter appears on 3 songs (including this one): Mandolin on "Don't Carry It All"; 12-string electric guitar on "Calamity Song"; electric guitar and baritone guitar on "Down by the Water"

 sirdroseph wrote:


Thank you! I am not alone!{#Doh}
 
Me too, I just can't stand this dude's voice... so whiny.
 Tim_Coletti wrote:
"This One Goes Out to the One I Love..."  


That is Peter Buck playing those arpeggios, so you ain't wrong.
"This One Goes Out to the One I Love..."  
{#Bananajam}
 Stranglersfan wrote:
They have about 8 previous albums, would be nice to hear that from time to time as well.

 
 A lot of their songs get played here rather frequently
- there are about 40 of their tunes on the RP playlist.
{#Bananajam}{#Bananapiano}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Bananajam}
chills
down
my
maritime
soul
chills upon the first notes...
I've just enjoyed their Tiny Desk thingy on the youtubes.  Tight and mellow.  Talented folks, I feel, and some lovely songwriting.  I need to listen selectively, though, because a lot of it's a bit too beardy for my ears.

edit;  now I've seen them live, I still feel the same, but they are great.  To my ears, of course.
I want to live alone in the desert, I want to be like Georgia O'Keefe...oh wait wrong song
I am getting more and more attached to the sound of this group, another nice discovery through RP.
 TJOpootertoot wrote:

Peter Buck is playing the rhythm guitar, those arpeggios in the back; that'd certainly close the deal on something that already has a tinge of REM to it.

 
Unmistakable sound, made me smile.
 Jannne wrote:
...agree with other listeners on the REM sounds....enjoying this track..

 
Peter Buck is playing the rhythm guitar, those arpeggios in the back; that'd certainly close the deal on something that already has a tinge of REM to it.

pensavo fossero i rem. i thought was the rem.. hallo from italy


Ha! THought the same thing 

  gvan wrote:
BRUUUUUUUUUCE!....

Wait, I mean, Deceeeemberists!

 


One of the very few songs that I don't mind the repetition. And maybe Bruce likes it.
...agree with other listeners on the REM sounds....enjoying this track..
 gvan wrote:
BRUUUUUUUUUCE!....

Wait, I mean, Deceeeemberists!

  Yes, Bruce called and wants his harmonica riff back.


They have about 8 previous albums, would be nice to hear that from time to time as well.
I liked this the first 876 times I heard it. Let's move on.
{#Stop} {#Arghhh} {#No} {#Headache} 
when I first heard this grp, thought meh.
more I hear them, the more they grow on me and just boosted this from 8->10 and cranked it up 

addendum, then Vilvaldi came on two songs later pushing this one back down to 8
what was I thinking {#Stupid} 
I think you are overplaying this tune.  'June Hymn' is worth considering and would add a little variety from this album
Such a singable song.  I turn it up loud and sing the harmonies.
Don't call what your wearing an outfit
Don't ever say your car is broke
Don't sing with a fake British accent
Don't act like your family's a joke

-Jason Isbell, Outfit
Love wailin' Jenny on backup. Glad her tit cancer is behind her.
 bluejay08003 wrote:

Indeed.  Peter Buck contributes his own guitar jangle!  To me, it's a little too much like "The One I Love." 

 
Yes, an arpeggiated minor chord - it's likely he's doing it as a direct reference to that song.  The overall chord structure of this song is different from "The One I Love".  This song's pretty good, but most of their stuff doesn't do much for me.
guess comments are selectively deleted here ... mine's gone from just a while back. Ah well.
true, what lack of vocal talent and training fail to accomplish, they make up with strained harmonies.
 

jbunniii wrote:
The jangle guitars + harmonica reminded me of the late '80s Warren Zevon collaborations with REM. Then the horrible nasal vocals kicked in...

 


The jangle guitars + harmonica reminded me of the late '80s Warren Zevon collaborations with REM. Then the horrible nasal vocals kicked in...
I hate that I don't hate this. Now I'll have to give the Decemberists a try now and then. 

< /  rhymes with veranda >
 fluorophore wrote:

It has the Peter Buck guitar jangle down pat.

 
Indeed.  Peter Buck contributes his own guitar jangle!  To me, it's a little too much like "The One I Love." 
 leap wrote:
{#Sunny}
                 {#Motor}                               
{#Daisy}{#Daisy} {#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}                   

 
{#Jump}
yeah, this makes me think of 90's REM-ish alternative or college rock bands. i like it.
 kdarwish wrote:
Interesting enough lyrics, but fine (Neil) Youngish cum REMish musical style and tempo, thanks.
 
It has the Peter Buck guitar jangle down pat.
Interesting enough lyrics, but fine (Neil) Youngish cum REMish musical style and tempo, thanks.
 cosmiclint wrote:
Wow. Decemberists with a nice Jayhawks vibe. Time I rated this one.
 
I thought these were the Jayhawks too.... or maybe Tragically Hip?
BRUUUUUUUUUCE!....

Wait, I mean, Deceeeemberists!
The Decemberists are great!
Wow. Decemberists with a nice Jayhawks vibe. Time I rated this one.
song is infectious 7->9
The Decemberists always plant earworms in my head.
 Danimal174 wrote:
Does anyone else notice some similarities between the guitar work by The Decembrists and some of the early REM stuff?
 
Excellent point. Now that I am listening more closely, this has many aspects of REM. Especially "This One Goes Out to The One I Love"
Love the vocals of 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenny_Conlee
 Danimal174 wrote:
Does anyone else notice some similarities between the guitar work by The Decembrists and some of the early REM stuff?
 
Interesting point. Now that you pointed that out, I can definitely hear that, at least in this song.

I love this song and this album, real American folk music. 
 bh1 wrote:
 yes, this one sounds like "this one goes out to the one I love"  (Fire)

Danimal174 wrote:
Does anyone else notice some similarities between the guitar work by The Decembrists and some of the early REM stuff?
 


 



It is Peter Buck playing on this song.
{#Sunny}
                 {#Motor}                               
{#Daisy}{#Daisy} {#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}{#Daisy}                   
 yes, this one sounds like "this one goes out to the one I love"  (Fire)

Danimal174 wrote:
Does anyone else notice some similarities between the guitar work by The Decembrists and some of the early REM stuff?
 


 Phlegmaticman wrote:
Gillian Welch's backup vocals add a point or two onto my score for this song.
 
Totally! Otherwise I'd probably PSD it.
 Byronape wrote:

"Main Drag" is an old expression for the main street through a small town.  It has also been used to refer to any straight stretch of road that is away from populated areas and is a quarter mile or longer, like in drag racing.  

However, from my childhood, I've always heard it as referring to a main thoroughfare through a small town.   
 
Terrific example in popular culture is "American Graffiti," where the big whoop on Friday night was "cruising the main." Most of that action in the movie was filmed on 4th St. in San Rafael, California—where I grew up and where indeed cruising the main was the big deal on Friday nights. The drag racing scenes were filmed outside of Lodi. The drive-in scenes were filmed at Mel's Diner on Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco. Lucas artfully spliced them so they all seemed part of the same small town in the middle of nowhere.

The film also served as the incubator for a number of future stars: Harrison Ford, Ron Howard (grown out of his Opie-dom), Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams, Charlie Martin Smith,  and a very young Mackenzie Phillips. It also featured San Francisco deejays Scott Beach (the shop owner) and Terry McGovern (the philandering teacher). Oddly, stardom seemed to escape Paul LeMat, whose role was compelling.
Does anyone else notice some similarities between the guitar work by The Decembrists and some of the early REM stuff?
 Byronape wrote:

"Main Drag" is an old expression for the main street through a small town.  It has also been used to refer to any straight stretch of road that is away from populated areas and is a quarter mile or longer, like in drag racing.  

However, from my childhood, I've always heard it as referring to a main thoroughfare through a small town.   
 
I've heard it used to describe the main street in a town or city of any size, though smaller towns are more likely to have just one principal thoroughfare.  Anyhow, good tune.
 Phlegmaticman wrote:
Gillian Welch's backup vocals add a point or two onto my score for this song.
 
Agreed! {#Cheers}
Gillian Welch's backup vocals add a point or two onto my score for this song.
Okay, they're starting to grow on me. This one gets a six and I reserve the right to upgrade at a later date.
Hmmm, I see that despite the surprising (to me anyway) number of haters for this band that this song still rates 7.1 among RP listeners. Lovers outnumber haters. Good. I give it at least an 8 and some days it is a 9 for me.
 itaish wrote:

100% agree. This is their only song I sort of like.
 



I like it; just not every day :-)

The boring guys in their handwoven pullovers, thick glasses and beards again?

I bet the girls are crazy for them - leave alone their style and material is cunningly stolen!

 

 


 Byronape wrote:

"Main Drag" is an old expression for the main street through a small town.  It has also been used to refer to any straight stretch of road that is away from populated areas and is a quarter mile or longer, like in drag racing.  

However, from my childhood, I've always heard it as referring to a main thoroughfare through a small town.   
 
Interesting, thanks for that. I would rather have thought about a canal, or something. Anyway, what made me ask the question was the Pogues' song The Old Main Drag, and a certain kind of Celtic feeling in the present one.
 rdo wrote:

Come on now.  You don't mean that.  {#Cheers}  Pony up, mi amigo!  Either way, I like your comments and uploads, even if not your free-loads.  Hey, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
 
Yea, I don't mean anything personal towards you at all. I don't get personal with opinions on songs. It's all good!{#Cheers}
 pinnyrat wrote:
I find The Decemberists terribly overrated, but this is a decent song.
 
100% agree. This is their only song I sort of like.
I find The Decemberists terribly overrated, but this is a decent song.
I never tire of this song — lyrics, instrumentation, melody. It has it all.
 sirdroseph wrote:


free load would denote receiving a service and not paying for it. Since I told you I rarely listen, I do not receive the service therefore your definition is incorrect, but yes I do enjoy pissing on your parade it is a guilty pleasure.
 
Come on now.  You don't mean that.  {#Cheers}  Pony up, mi amigo!  Either way, I like your comments and uploads, even if not your free-loads.  Hey, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
 Bleyfusz wrote:
Down by The Old Main Drag? Excuse me?
 
"Main Drag" is an old expression for the main street through a small town.  It has also been used to refer to any straight stretch of road that is away from populated areas and is a quarter mile or longer, like in drag racing.  

However, from my childhood, I've always heard it as referring to a main thoroughfare through a small town.   
Down by The Old Main Drag? Excuse me?
 seven7 wrote:
good stuff, good RP...everyone else fuck off
 
uh, no I won't..and don't like this band

good stuff, good RP...everyone else fuck off
 sirdroseph wrote:


free load would denote receiving a service and not paying for it. Since I told you I rarely listen, I do not receive the service therefore your definition is incorrect, but yes I do enjoy pissing on your parade it is a guilty pleasure.
 
Right.  The "guilty pleasure" of a closet sociopath. . . 
 
 rdo wrote:

So, what you are saying is that you are going to free-load and piss on our parade?  Nice.
 

free load would denote receiving a service and not paying for it. Since I told you I rarely listen, I do not receive the service therefore your definition is incorrect, but yes I do enjoy pissing on your parade it is a guilty pleasure.
 sirdroseph wrote:
I ain't even gonna front, it is songs like this that are preventing me from renewing my financial support for this station. I think that RP is a great station, but they just play too many bands and songs that I just plain ol' don't like and play them too often. I have to mute entirely too much for this to be a regularly listened to station even when it is the only radio station that goes through my works firewall. Now, before you say just not to listen anymore, what I am telling you is I rarely do. However I do enjoy the forum and uploading songs on the LRC.
 
So, what you are saying is that you are going to free-load and piss on our parade?  Nice.
 Gish05 wrote:
I will never understand why people love this band so much. Their latest work in particular is the safest, most boring garbage to ever come out of the "wannabe REM" corner in at least a decade.
 
Agreed. I can't stand the singer's voice. It sounds like he sat around and moped until he came up with the most pretentious sounding accent possible.

The similarity is deliberate. Peter Buck (of REM) plays guitar here. It's not a rip-off; it's a tribute.

choderama wrote:
R.E.M - The One I Love?...

EDIT: Then I went down the page and saw everyone agreeing. It's very very similar.
 

Compliment for the worst cover ever printed on a CD.
Compliment for the most stupid name in business
Compliment for copying 100's of bands from the past 10 years!

Wishes, always yours, 
REM

R.E.M - The One I Love?...

EDIT: Then I went down the page and saw everyone agreeing. It's very very similar.
I will never understand why people love this band so much. Their latest work in particular is the safest, most boring garbage to ever come out of the "wannabe REM" corner in at least a decade.
Grrrreat!
 pcicatar wrote:

Why, that's why I used a winkie!  {#Wink}  Plus the guitar sound is very similar because it's Peter Buck playing on the record!  Both he and Gillian Welch worked on the recording and those inclusions are the reasons are why this album is far more accessible than the rest of their catalog.
 
{#Doh}  Well, that explains a lot.

 Proclivities wrote:

It's in a minor key and the melody and tempo are quite different.  Contrary to popular belief, Peter Buck did not "invent" the arpeggiated A minor chord. The guitar sound is similar though - perhaps an homage.  I don't think REM will have any attorney filing for a plagiarism suit anytime soon - especially if the claim revolves around a single, well-used chord

pcicatar wrote:
This is the best cover of R.E.M.'s "The One I Love" I've heard in a long time!  {#Wink}


 
Why, that's why I used a winkie!  {#Wink}  Plus the guitar sound is very similar because it's Peter Buck playing on the record!  Both he and Gillian Welch worked on the recording and those inclusions are the reasons are why this album is far more accessible than the rest of their catalog.


 pcicatar wrote:
This is the best cover of R.E.M.'s "The One I Love" I've heard in a long time!  {#Wink}
 
It's in a minor key and the melody and tempo are quite different.  Contrary to popular belief, Peter Buck did not "invent" the arpeggiated A minor chord. The guitar sound is similar though - perhaps an homage.  I don't think REM will have any attorney filing for a plagiarism suit anytime soon - especially if the claim revolves around a single, well-used chord


I ain't even gonna front, it is songs like this that are preventing me from renewing my financial support for this station. I think that RP is a great station, but they just play too many bands and songs that I just plain ol' don't like and play them too often. I have to mute entirely too much for this to be a regularly listened to station even when it is the only radio station that goes through my works firewall. Now, before you say just not to listen anymore, what I am telling you is I rarely do. However I do enjoy the forum and uploading songs on the LRC.
like other comments i hope they cited peter bucks guitar hook ... its not creative interpretation when its blatant
This is the best cover of R.E.M.'s "The One I Love" I've heard in a long time!  {#Wink}
 jonahboo wrote:


SEE YA LATER THEN -
 

Why yes, as long as they are not playing the Decemberists, you probably will, yes. What exactly is your point?{#Stupid}
No sir, I don't like it  {#No}
 sirdroseph wrote:


Thank you! I am not alone!{#Doh}
 

SEE YA LATER THEN -