The Desert Island Top 10 - Death Cab for Cutie

With Death Cab For Cutie releasing Narrow Stairs May 13th, a record seemingly destined to either pave or destroy their legacy, it's time to take a trip back in time. Or maybe forward in time. A trip to a certain desert island...#6.

Deathcab for Cutie - Transatlanticism

This is probably cliche at this point. Who am I kidding? Do I care? There's a reason DCFC are loved by a huge number of people between the ages of 15 and 35. It's not a fluke. They were good before they broke it big, they've been good since. If you think it's uncool to like Death Cab at this point, you're just a silly goose.

DCFC has evolved consistently since their inception in 1997, as all good artists should. Lucky for them, I've happened to enjoy each phase of metamorphosis. Fan retention and artistic growth are very difficult things to balance, I'd imagine. Sure, there are things I (and probably you) miss. The hollow bathroom-esque reverb and eccentric song structures from We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes, the hooky lo-fi sound of Something About Airplanes and the early EPs up to the Photo Album LP. 2003's Plans marked the breaking point with much of the early fan base as more traditional framework of songs and melodies emerged with the band's major foray into popular music culture. The one thing completely constant throughout is Ben Gibbard's amazing introspection and matter-of-fact lyricism and gifted melodies. Honestly, that's more than enough for me.

Transatlanticism was the perfect storm. Released shortly after Gibbard's side project The Postal Service's Give Up had gone gold, it gave the now-hungry public something to devour. Musically, it couldn't have been better suited. "The New Year" has to be one of the best opening tracks of our generation, dispelling the hype of a fresh start on January One. The mid-album trio of "Tiny Vessels", "Transatlanticism" and "Passenger Seat" make up one of my favorite three-song sets in existence, as epic and quietly turbulent as a rolling ocean in the pitch dark of a cloudy night. "Tiny Vessels" especially gives me chills, brutally raw and cutting, playing out a scenario to which we all relate but would hesitate to admit. "This is the moment that you know that you told her that you loved her, but you don't". Damn, son. Damn. I can't tell you the number of times I've wept, completely broken by the musical pummeling and refrain of the title track. "I need you so much closer. So come on. Come on." Come on! Every fan has their favorites, for myriad reasons. This one's mine.

Tiny Vessels
A Lack of Color
[from Transatlanticism|buy]

#7 Aloha - Sugar
#8 Jonatha Brooke & The Story - Plumb
#9 Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days
#10 Lovedrug - Pretend You're Alive


Blogger Wes Hartline said...

I cannot help but wholeheartedly agree with your 3-song set comment. I don't think there is a greater triplet of songs on an album released in the past 5 years or more. This album was their coming out party for sure, regardless of how good Photo Album is.

3:10 PM  

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