The Decemberists - As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again

The Decemberists - As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again




By the time The Decemberists finished touring behind 2018’s I’ll Be Your Girl, Colin Meloy’s band of nearly two decades no longer defined his entire creative life. Since the start, Meloy had enjoyed side-projects, of course, from a string of beloved solo cover records to several successful books, especially the Wildwood series alongside his wife, the illustrator Carson Ellis. What’s more, by tour’s end in Germany during the waning weeks of 2018, Meloy had become overwhelmed by the new material, its collective weight. Understandably so: That aggressive record had been written amid the wanton cruelty of the 2016 presidential election. Every night, Meloy had to relive real outrage on stage, an especially enervating prospect for a songwriter who loved being home, chasing the tails of his interests through reading and writing. After the pandemic sidelined the band, Meloy ventured into a spate of new literary, film, and theatrical projects, even launching his popular newsletter, Colin Meloy’s Machine Shop. As these other avenues proliferated, his enthusiasm, at least temporarily, flowed toward them rather than the band he’d led for nearly two decades. Was he drifting from that long-steadfast core of his creative life?

Not at all, turns out: As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again is not only the longest Decemberists album to date (and their first intentional, proper double-LP, split into four thematic sides, no less) but also their most empathetic and accessible, its 13 songs like semaphores of mutual recognition for our fraught times and faint hopes. The existential slog and capitalist vexation of “The Reapers,” the opiated delusion and jumbled jingoism of “America Made Me,” the guileless tenderness and absolute surrender of “All I Want Is You”: As It Ever Was is the redemptive testament of a band finding new communal hymns by revisiting several old modes at once. This, Meloy will tell you proudly, is the best Decemberists albums—perhaps even the ultimate realization of 22 years of work. As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again rings with the urgency and ardor of right now, maybe more than ever before.



  1. Burial Ground
  2. Oh No!
  3. The Reapers
  4. Long White Veil
  5. William Fitzwilliam
  6. Don't Go to the Woods
  7. The Black Maria
  8. All I Want Is You
  9. Born to the Morning
  10. America Made Me
  11. Tell Me What's on Your Mind
  12. Never Satisfied
  13. Joan in the Garden