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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