Sunday, October 09, 2005

Death Cab For Cutie "Plans"

Death Cab For Cutie "Plans"
released 8/30/05



Death Cab For Cutie is back with a major label debut. They've endured alot of success due to their appearence on The OC, and Ben's side project The Poastal Service has gained more recognition and popularity than was probably ever intended. With that being said, this album has alot riding on it. It pretty much lives up to what I expected. The album's first single is not particulalry my favorite on the album, but Atlantic doesn't want to please me, they want to ride the success of The Postal Service. I'm sure this will be the first Death Cab CD MANY people will hear, and that's sad. This band's whole catalogue is very impressive... and excellent. I should stop bitching though, because they actually deserve it. Jimmy Eat World signed to a major label after releasing one indie album, and gained unearned commercial success, in my opinion. Death Cab For Cutie definitely deserve the success and exposure they are going to receive with this album.

So, to the music. The first song "Marching Bands Of Manhattan" is a great opener, with it's climactic last verse (chorus?) repeated over and over- great imagery too, when i hear it I really picture a faucet dripping. Track 2 "Soul Meets Body" is the first single off the album and kind of disappoints. It reminds me of another Death Cab song... I can't put my finger on it now though. I usually skip this one and head right over to track 3, "Summer Skin". After listening to that song, I was astounded. Because I have been there before. Where a summer fling ends with the peeling of a sunburn and the falling of autumn leaves. Too many times have I been there- truly one of my favorite songs on the album! And the music is great, I really love the baseline.

Track 4 I usually skip over as well. It kind of falls below the standards-line for Death Cab- and the electro-sounding bridge I could have done without. The end of this song is very simliar to track 1 with it's repeated chorus over and over and over and over and over (you get it). "I'll follow you into the dark" is probably one of the sadddest songs on the album- which is weird. I read an interview where Ben said this song is a love song- but even when he writes a love song it's still depressing. It's about following your lover to purgatory. Track 6 spins the slow and dark mood around brought on by tacks 4 and 5 ,with it's upbeat acoustic guitar strumming and music accompanment! I think this song is about being a dreamer. Seeing and thinking about the possibilites of something that could happen if you made them. Maybe I'm hearing it wrong? Oh well, I still like it alot, and I really like the chorus.

Next is "Someday You'll be Loved" and is a song about moving on. Moving on from old relationships, referring to them as "bad dreams" and "a series of blurs" in the hopes that you will find someone- "your heart belongs to someone you have yet to meet"- A good solid track with mixed emotions- being sad yet having a hopeful outlook on the future. "Crooked Teeth" in my opinion is by far the most catchiest song on the album, and I totally love it. And for the most part I don't like really catchy songs. The song is clever, the chorus is catchy as hell, and the music is upbeat and great.

"What Sarah Said" on the other hand is quite depressing. With it's piano intro you can tell you are instore for a tear-jerker. It's about being in a waiting room at a hospital knowing the person you are waiting for is dying. Only bad thing I have to say about this song is that Ben uses the cliche "it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all" put in a different way. Cmon Ben, you are better than that. The last verse makes you think though "I'm thinking of what Sarah said: 'love is watching someone die', so who's gonna watch you die?" I wonder who's gonna watch me die =-/

At just over 6 minutes, "What Sarah Said" is the PERFECT lead into "Brothers in a Hotel Bed", who's last few words comprise the title. Probably the most beautiful song on the album (as described to me by their A&R Sam Riback), it's about getting older, both as a person and a lover. The second verse is probably my favorite verse on the entire album. The album should end there, but it doesn't. I don't think I've even listened to the last track enough to write about it. It's slow and mellow, but with track's 9 and 10 being both lengthy and slow/mellow, whyyyy would you put one last slow song. I don't even want to listen to it right now as I'm writing this. *hits the stop button at track 11*

So this album is not as good as Transatlanticism, or their older stuff, but I can accept that. They are nearing 30 years old, growing and broadening your music happens as you grow older. I noticed that Chris Walla was behind the piano ALOT for this album. I am going to see them in a few weeks and I probably won't even see what kind of pants Chris is wearing (not that I care what he's wearing). Also, Ben now has a girlfriend- which is the inspiration for cheerier songs such as "Soul Meets Body" and "I'll Follow You Into The Dark". All in all, it's a good album. I'd recommend listening to their olde stuff befor eyou jump into this-- unless you are one of those OC, trendy, mainstream media obsessed people- then get this and only this-- do not explore any independent music please. And if you love the Postal Service but never heard of Death Cab For Cutie, go to the nearest 10 story building, open the window, and jump out... or if you don't believe in suicide, just don't talk to me then.

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