The Hazards of Love

Release date
24 Mar 2009
Running length
17 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Prelude 3:04 105,605
2 The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone) 4:31 18,570
3 A Bower Scene 2:08 132,642
4 Won’t Want For Love (Margaret In The Taiga) 4:06 14,957
5 The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All) 4:25 103,799
6 The Queen’s Approach 3:15 1,257
7 Isn’t It A Lovely Night? 3:38 9,991
8 The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid 6:26 96,295
9 An Interlude 1:40 114,669
10 The Rake’s Song 3:15 13,555
11 The Abduction of Margaret 2:06 111,720
12 The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing 3:56 748
13 Annan Water 5:11 97,733
14 Margaret in Captivity 3:07 92,701
15 The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!) 3:21 78,811
16 The Wanting Comes in Waves (reprise) 1:30 80,909
17 The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned) 5:57 78,603

About this album

The Hazards of Love, released March 24, 2009, is the fifth album by The Decemberists. The album was inspired by an Anne Briggs EP titled The Hazards of Love. According to the band, frontman Colin Meloy set out to write a song with the album’s title—eventually leading to an album in itself. Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond) and Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond) provide guest vocals throughout the album.

The Hazards of Love centers around a love story, similar to the use of recurring stories in The Crane Wife: a woman named Margaret (voiced by Stark) falls in love with a shape-shifting forest dweller (voiced by Meloy). A jealous forest queen (voiced by Worden) and an ensemble of recurring characters bring conflict to the album’s story arc.

On January 15, 2009, “The Rake’s Song” became available as a free download on their Myspace page. This was followed on February 16, 2009 by “The Hazards of Love 1,” again on Myspace.

On March 13, 2009, The Decemberists announced that the album would be released on iTunes on March 17, 2009. The album was released on iTunes Australia on March 14, 2009. On March 20, 2009, Entertainment Weekly began streaming the full album on imeem.

This album debuted at #14 and sold 19,210 copies in its first week.

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  • RebelGlassZero

    I am apparently the only one who dislikes this.

    6 Jan 1:25am Reply
  • Marisoul

    This is the greatest collection of songs in the history of music. [2]

    6 May 2014 Reply
  • ML_IDLM_KTN_12

    If i was a film director, I'd make this story into a film.

    12 May 2013 Reply
  • khardman51

    This is one of the best albums of all time, hands down.

    11 Sep 2012 Reply
  • tjd9

    This is the kind of record you have to listen to start from finish in one sitting. To me this is in the category as Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."

    14 Aug 2012 Reply
  • owl21

    well said.

    29 Mar 2012 Reply
  • Toxiiccity

    If you hate this album, you can go fuck yourself <3

    12 Dec 2011 Reply
  • TheHochhaus

    tkid is way better

    21 Jun 2011 Reply
  • DCozmonaut

    this is folk-rock or something haha, adorable.

    20 Jun 2011 Reply
  • boozec

    This is the greatest album of all time.

    28 Apr 2011 Reply
  • wennEsAnfaengt

    This album is so inconceivable awesome! Will get to the list of my ten most adored albums. Just asking my self who to drop there.

    11 Feb 2011 Reply
  • chronicplutonic

    reading abt the guests vox on this album: becky stark of Lavender DIAMOND, shara worden of MY brightest DIAMOND, jim james of MY morning jacket. Coinkadink? what does this MEAN??

    18 Nov 2010 Reply
  • Zilverdael

    Wow! I wish it could still be 2009! It might be the best album that year, but I just heard it for the first time!

    19 Oct 2010 Reply
  • electrifried

    I always imagine royal intrigue and silver knights when I listen to this. This good

    2 Oct 2010 Reply
  • Aesiron

    This is the greatest collection of songs in the history of music.

    27 Jun 2010 Reply
  • Hwacha


    17 May 2010 Reply
  • IndieBlind

    This album makes me jizz in my pants

    27 Feb 2010 Reply
  • dustynine

    I am so addicted to this album. Can't believe I've never listened to the Decemberists before.

    19 Feb 2010 Reply
  • FunCkyChiCa

    this... album... is... so great. omg omg omg omg

    11 Nov 2009 Reply
  • beenyisagreeny

    They performed this album amazingly last night in Los Angeles at Royce Hall. Everyone walked out beaming, it was so fun. <3333

    21 Oct 2009 Reply
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