I'll Be Your Girl

The Decemberists - I'll Be Your Girl
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2018 Ratings: #628 / 760
User Score
Based on 119 ratings
2018 Ratings: #917
March 16, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Capitol / Label
Indie Pop / Genres
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decemberists.com / Website
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God Is in the TV
Where its predecessor was merely a collection of great songs thrown together, arguably, this one is the most coherent release the band has unleashed yet.
Northern Transmissions
Full of brilliant and ambitious writing that will appeal to fans new and old, the record is one of their most intriguing in years.
Drowned in Sound
Much has been made about the band embracing a more contemporary and fuller sonic palate, but this is textural only, and still seamlessly fits into their double-stitched classic songwriting. What is different here is the enthusiasm and the energy behind the project – the band sound engaged and excited again.
No Ripcord

I’ll Be Your Girl is the band’s most ambitious release since The Hazards of Love. Through the incorporation of electronic and synth elements, the group adds a new color to their palette and uses it excellently.


Despite their dark subject material, they’ve never been a group to take themselves too seriously, and never has Meloy’s tongue been jammed so firmly in cheek as on this collection of apocalyptic tunes.

The results are mostly successful; occasionally a strange sound seems shoehorned into a perfectly good Decemberists song.
Under The Radar

I'll Be Your Girl may not be an unquestionable expression of their glam rock influences or even be their best work, but it's nice to see The Decemberists have stepped outside their comfort zone and reached back a bit to reconnect with their daring and adventurous ways without losing their distinctive charm.


While Meloy's lyrics are sharply honed and evocative, it's this cavalcade of sounds that not only makes I'll Be Your Girl compelling, but distinctive among Decemberists albums.

Consequence of Sound

Though it contains a number of experiments that don’t quite work, I’ll Be Your Girl offers tracks that point to a very exciting way forward for the band. Folk sensibilities and gold, old-fashioned acoustic instruments can play really elegantly and stirringly with electronic sounds, and there is a lot of potential if The Decemberists push further in that direction.

A.V. Club

I’ll Be Your Girl is a welcome sign of a veteran band eager to experiment, but it’s also the first Decemberists album where the sounds are more interesting than the songs.

Where they once specialized in meticulously plotted albums, now they mostly seem to be winging it. They’re still making some alluring music, yet their albums have never sounded more disjointed.
The Skinny
There’s been a sense over recent records that the band have tried to rein in their proggier sensibilities, becoming more concise and radio-friendly in the process. And while half of the tracks here would make for decent singles, the hodgepodge of styles ultimately results in an unbalanced and disjointed album.

I'll Be Your Girl would stand as a fine but forgettable work on its own, yet when compared to the pedigree of its predecessors, it's quite disappointing in every way.

The Independent

It’s quite a week for surprising new directions, though few are quite as unexpected as The Decemberists’ on I’ll Be Your Girl, which finds the folk-rockers employing electropop riffs influenced by Roxy Music and New Order. Who saw that coming?

The 405

On I’ll Be Your Girl, The Decemberists do a few things well, a few things poorly, and most of them acceptably and nothing more. The fact that it never goes completely off the rails is almost as disappointing as the fact that it never finds its footing or seems interested in doing so.

Rolling Stone

The Decemberists do a very particular thing – darkly ornate, literary-minded, self-consciously verbose Anglophile prog-folk-rock – exceedingly well, so well that you can't blame 'em for wanting to do something else. They do just that on I'll Be Your Girl, at least in parts, the upshot being, well, a re-affirmation of that particular thing they do exceedingly well.

FLOOD Magazine

They know who they are and what they like—and they may be the only band around who can make the New Wave sound old-timey.

The Line of Best Fit

It’s almost unsettling to watch a band that used to plan every single detail of their albums down to the letter suddenly begin to frantically hurl a load of disparate ideas at the wall and hope a few stick. If there’s a shift in The Decemberists’ identity on I’ll Be Your Girl, then that’s it. It doesn’t suit them.

Spectrum Culture
The album at its best teases new directions; at its weakest, it simply sounds like a band quick to the studio with new ideas. With a few highs and a few mistakes, the album offers an uneven listening experience.
The album is at its best when it explores glam influences: the campness and flamboyance nicely mirror the theatrical nature of The Decemberists’ established repertoire. But they would do well to learn that sticking some synthesiser parts behind a guitar band doesn’t automatically make them New Order.
Slant Magazine

Aiming for playful rebirth, the Decemberists instead land on cloying kitsch.

On their eighth record, The Decemberists continue to be lost in a field of experimentation, this time with synthesizers and brief excursions into sounds popularized by others. Similar to their previous record, "What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World," "I'll Be Your Girl" fails to sustain a clear through line. Tracks like "Everything is Awful" and "We All Die Young" feel designed for any other band that is not the Decemberists. For me, the ... read more
Very average album, made by a generally above average band. Could have taken the synths a little farther and spliced it more with their DNA rather than just dipping their toes in.
The Decemberists have long since mostly stripped themselves of interesting narrative in favor of a more poppier sound. I'll Be Your Girl completes that transition save for a few lingering moments of brilliance, such as the lengthy Rusalka, Rusalka / Wild Rushes. That same track, Severed, and Sucker's Prayer are the lone stand out pieces, as the rest fall victim to bland indie folk pop trappings. The usage of synth, while experimental on their part, feels foreign and underutilized. Most of this ... read more
Perhaps not the best album by this collective due to a few corny-esque tracks, the band take this chance to play with some new vibes as well as lean on what has worked in the past.

Favorite track: Once In My Life
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Year End Lists



#9/Paste (First Half)

Track List

  1. Once In My Life
  2. Cutting Stone
  3. Severed
  4. Starwatcher
  5. Tripping Along
  6. Your Ghost
  7. Everything Is Awful
  8. Sucker's Prayer
  9. We All Die Young
  10. Rusalka, Rusalka / Wild Rushes
  11. I'll Be Your Girl
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Added on: January 17, 2018