New Music Video: The Decemberists
  • TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2011

  • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

Everybody needs a good literary reference now and then, but The Decemberists have taken it to an entirely new level with their video for "Calamity Song", a diddy somewhat subconsciously inspired by David Foster Wallace's classic novel Infinite Jest. So the band teamed up with director Michael Schur to recreate a portion of the novel concerning calamity—tennis and thermonuclear chaos to be exact. Watch it below.

Frontman Colin Meloy explained to NPR,

"I wrote "Calamity Song" shortly after I'd finished reading David Foster Wallace's epic Infinite Jest. The book didn't so much inspire the song itself, but Wallace's irreverent and brilliant humor definitely wound its way into the thing. And I had this funny idea that a good video for the song would be a re-creation of the Enfield Tennis Academy's round of Eschaton—basically, a global thermonuclear crisis re-created on a tennis court—that's played about a third of the way into the book."

Meloy found a kindred spirit in director Michael Schur, co-creator of Parks and Recreation and a veteran of The Office and Saturday Night Live. Schur likened the opportunity of working with The Decemberists (his favorite band) AND Infinite Jest (his favorite book) to "winning the Powerball", and the enthusiasm shows. The video is a terrific (if not somewhat derivative) version of the events in the book, and will encourage fans to either discover The Decemberists, Infinite Jest, or both. Well done.



"Calamity Song" appears on the band's latest LP, The King Is Dead, out now on Capitol Records.

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