The Decemberists, that lovable and literary indie rock band from Portland, Ore., and their bookish frontman, Colin Meloy, are known for writing songs with narratives—similar to the ones you read in English class—about subjects like seafarers, pirates, soldiers, chimney sweeps, trapeze artists, etc. Add to that list ‘outed CIA operatives.’ Yes, the band has written an ode to Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent whose outing by conservative columnist Robert Novak in 2003 sparked the whole Scooter Libby/Karl Rove/Judith Miller affair.
As Stereogum reports, a press release describes the song, simply titled, “Valerie Plame,” as being told from “the point-of-view of one of Plame’s inside contacts upon discovering her true identity,” also stating that its “an amorous tribute to the onetime CIA operative.” According to Stereogum, the track, which is part of a three-volume singles series the band will start rolling out this fall, will be available for purchase on Oct. 14. And, in a strategic move, they will perform it live on Late Night With Conan O’brien on Nov. 3, the night before the election.
Of course this is not the Decemberists’ first riveting tale of espionage. Their 2005 album, Picaresque, includes a fairly epic, and also bittersweet, track called “The Bagman’s Gambit” (posted below) that evokes the excitement and perils of the spying life. Although, with signature Colin Meloy alliteration like “Purloined in Petrograd,” we presume the setting for that song is a bit more old-fashioned.