This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #352: Here I Dreamt I was an Architect by The Decemberists.
A lifetime ago, I used to belong to an online writing group called, “Trifecta”. Each week, those of us involved would create original work based upon two separate writing prompts. We would submit that work and then, receive feedback from our other community members who felt so inclined as to comment. I really enjoyed being involved in a writing community. But, even though I enjoyed creating my pieces of writing, that was not the best part for me. The best part of being involved in a writing community was having the pleasure of reading extraordinary writing….every…..single….week! Different folks brought different strengths and interests to bear so one never knew, from week to week, who was going to be the one who came up with something dazzling and inspiring. There were so many talented writers who contributed each week. Reading their good work was an absolute pleasure.
Even to this day, good writing catches my eye and holds my attention. This is what happened the first time I ever heard, “Here I Dreamt I was an Architect” by The Decemberists. What a song! What excellent writing! The verses in this song read like poetry or else, like something you might read in a classic piece of literature. For the video for this song, I am going to post the “lyrics” version so that you can read along as the lead singer sings. The song is dream-like and deals with the nature of our life choices and the degree to which we find inner peace and emotional fulfillment. Is there a downside to playing it safe in life? Is the risk/reward principle one worth pursuing, even if there is a chance that the risk outweighs the reward and you may end up losing everything? Is happiness a reward worth risking everything for? All of these weighty topics are discussed in three separate but, related verses that, like I said, read like excellent literature.
As a group, “The Decemberists” tend to be categorized as playing, “Folk Rock” and would be considered contemporaries of groups like “The Avett Brothers” and “Mumford and Sons”. “The Decemberists” often write songs based upon history or folklore. They have been around for a couple of decades now. The group consists of Colin Meloy (Lead singer/songwriter, guitar), Chris Funk (Guitarist), Jenny Conlee (Keyboards/Piano), Nate Query (Bass guitar) and John Moen (Drums). The name of the group comes from Russian history and refers to a “December Uprising” that took place in 1825, for those keeping track of their uprisings. “The Decemberists” have been nominated for Grammy Awards but, have yet to win. They have appeared frequently on late night talk shows such as Stephen Colbert and Conan O’ Brien. The song, “Here I Dreamt I was an Architect” was used in a key episode of the comedy show, “How I Met Your Mother”. I will include that clip in the comments section below.
Even if you haven’t heard of “The Decemberists” or have never heard this song before, I urge you to give it a shot simply because of the beauty of the language used and the imagery it conjures up. “Here I Dreamt I was an Architect” talks about building a life based upon the choices we make along the way. You will hear about a soldier at Birkenau Concentration Camp, an architect and an adulterer…..and it will all sound wonderful and dreamy. Sometimes, simply being exposed to good writing is what ends up bringing the most joy. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect” by The Decemberists, can be found here.
The link to the video for the episode of the TV show, “How I Met Your Mother”, in which “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect” was used so effectively, can be found here.
The link to the video of a live performance of “Here I Dreamt I WAs An Architect” by The Deemberists, can be found here.
The link to the official website for The Decemberists, can be found here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their website can be found here.