The impending start of 2015 means the new Decemberists album will be coming around soon, and that’s promising. Does Colin Meloy’s voice get better by the year? Will this band continue to trump everyone else in their genre, and cross through it, with excruciatingly meticulous songwriting? It seems so, even as they continue to embrace hook-structure and pop backbeats. I have always enjoyed this band but to varying degrees of obsession. I first heard “Make You Better” this fall and thought it was OK, then, last weekend, I heard it on WBER while cruising around my parents’ neighborhood. It slapped me in the face a good bit, and it gets better with repeat listens, I’ve determined. At first, the first two lines bothered me, they felt lazy, but today, they feel intentionally exacerbating, every little bit more of wanting worth every little bit more of a mention. . The parallel construction in this song is so simple and expertly done. I love the phrase “starry-eyed,” it feels like fairy tales do, I love the piano part, I love the delicate harmonies. I love the way Meloy’s voice dips and falls on the “shimmer in your shine” line. I love the reflection, the need, channeled and categorized and contained. More, please.

I want you, thin fingers
I wanted you, thin fingernails

And when you bend backwards
I wanted you, I needed you
Oh, to make me better

I’ll love you in springtime
I lost you when summer came
And when you pulled backwards
I wanted to, I needed to
Oh, to make me better

Oh, to make me better

But we’re not so starry-eyed anymore
Like the perfect paramour you were in your letters,
And won’t it all just come around to make you,
Let it all unbreak you to the day you met her.
But it’d make you better,
It’d make you better.

I sung you your twinges
I suffered you your tattletales
And when you broke sideways
I wanted you, I needed you
Oh, to make me better

Oh, to make me better

But we’re not so starry-eyed anymore
Like the perfect paramour you were in your letters
And won’t it all just come around and make you,
Let it all unbreak you to the day that you met her,
And it’d make you better
Did it make you better?

And all I wanted was a sliver to call mine,
And all I wanted was a shimmer in your shine,
To make me bright.

 
Cause we’re not so starry-eyed anymore,
Like the perfect paramour you were in your letters, 
And won’t it all just come around and make you.
Let it all unbreak you to the day you met her,
But it’d make you better,
It’d make you better.”

~Make You Better
The Decemberists,  What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World