The Decemberists- Don’t Carry it All

The Decemberists- “Don’t Carry it All” off The King is Dead (2010)

Don’t get me wrong, Crane Wife is an awesome album, but it’s nice to remember the Decemberists have done other cool stuff too.

This is supposed to be a simple album, and I love the folk vibe with orchestral undertones. There’s also a smattering of bluegrass influence throughout, which one of my catfish Manhunt profiles is a slut for).

This isn’t a simple album though. It’s a dessert cake of contradiction- a folksy, easy, and welcoming sound, followed by complex lyrics, and then a surprise. Take an excerpt from the song “Don’t Carry it All.”

“A monument to build beneath the arbors
Upon a cliff that towers towards the trees
But every vessel pitching hard to starboard
Lay it’s head on summer’s freckled knees
And nobody, nobody knows
Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don’t carry it all don’t carry it all
We are all our hands in holders
Beneath this bold and brilliant sun
This I swear to all, this I swear to all”

Deep, right? What could it mean? Instead of some crafty textual analysis to decipher the complex, nuanced language and masterful symbolism, I decided to seek out some help in interpreting these lyrics.

It’s a song about gardening (source).

…I’d like you to imagine what an assghoul I felt like for thinking, “Surely ‘Don’t Carry It all’ refers to the inexorable burdens we all must bear through life.” (I’m smoking a pipe in this image)

Nah, he’s talking about buckets, fools. So there, glad I cheated and looked it up.

But, seriously. Lovely.

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