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New Decemberists Album Includes Syllabus

LOS ANGELES — Indie rock mainstays The Decemberists’ new album, I’ll Be Your Girl, will be shipped with a syllabus, complete with required reading and research assignments, Capitol Records officials confirmed today.

“We realized we needed to include some sort of outline of what listeners will be learning from this album. The band is tired of explaining their whimsical references to Russian revolutionaries and colonial American tradesmen,” said Capitol representative Jim Emmerich. “It’s like, come on, guys — you can’t claim to be a fan of The Decemberists if you can’t name at least 10 types of whales.”

The 25-page syllabus includes reading assignments, ranging from American classics like Moby Dick, to more obscure historical texts, including Bread: A Global History and The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals: The Lost History of Europe’s Animal Trials.

“It’s a fair request that our fans be well-informed about Europe’s dark history of executing horses before they listen to the new record,” said Decemberists singer-songwriter Colin Meloy from his book-lined study. “How else are people going to understand what ‘Your Ghost’ is about if they don’t know that the French government regularly put horses in the guillotine until the 1700s? They might think it’s about some boring, human ghost.”


Fan reception to the prerequisites has largely been positive, with many citing it as a way to connect with the band’s music on a more meaningful level.

“Honestly, I already listened to The Decemberists because they made me feel smart, so this is icing on the cake. Having all this new reading will give me so much more to talk about at parties,” said longtime Decemberists fan David O’Connor. “I used to just paraphrase info I gleaned from Radiolab on my drive home from work. I’m glad I can diversify my repertoire a bit.”

Capitol Records is reportedly working with educators to create a full curriculum through Portland State University for indie rock fans to get a doctorate in Decemberists’ lyrical prowess.