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|Single by The Decemberists|
|from the album The Crane Wife|
|Released||September 19, 2006|
7" Vinyl (UK)
|The Decemberists singles chronology|
The music was written by The Decemberists and the lyrics by Colin Meloy. It tells a story of two star-crossed lovers. The singer falls in love with a person who belongs to an opposing gang. At the end of the song, the singer's lover jumps in to defend the singer, who is confronting his lover's brother (the singer's "sworn enemy") and is killed by the bullet intended for the singer.
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The 7" single sold in the UK was mispressed, with "Culling of the Fold" as the B-side despite the artwork and record label listing "After the Bombs" as the B-side.
For the "O Valencia!" music video, The Decemberists filmed themselves in front of a green screen and asked fans to complete it by digitally adding in background images or footage. Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, having recently asked fans to do the same with a video of him with a light saber in front of a green screen, brought up The Decemberists on his segment "Look Who's Riding on My Coattails Now" and accused the band of stealing the idea. The Decemberists' response was to challenge Stephen Colbert to a guitar solo showdown on December 20, 2006, on The Colbert Report.
On January 19, 2007, The Decemberists premiered an alternate music video of "O Valencia!", directed by Aaron Stewart-Ahn, on MTV2. The video follows a character played by Meloy as he and his love Francesca (Lisa Molinaro), daughter of "the Boss", plan an escape to an unknown location. A man in a suit, portrayed by the band member Chris Funk, tells him to hide in the "Valencia" hotel (the Super Value Inn on North Interstate Avenue in Portland, Oregon) while he gets them the necessary documentation to escape. Above the name of the hotel, there is a neon sign that reads "Office". The letters have all burnt out except for the "O", creating the title of the song. The video then introduces other characters - various assassination teams - who sit in different rooms of the hotel waiting for the chance to catch the two lovers. Most are portrayed by other members of the band (along with Meloy's wife, Carson Ellis).
The video is somewhat influenced by the distinct style and themes of director Wes Anderson, with bold fonts being used to introduce characters and groups on the bottom of the screen (much like in the film The Royal Tenenbaums). The band had previously (and more explicitly) drawn influence from Anderson's Rushmore in their video for "Sixteen Military Wives". The layout of the hotel is also similar to the one used in Bottle Rocket.