The New Year :: Death Cab For Cutie
A predictable “New Year’s” selection for “Video of the Day“, but the song, though expected from someone who is a Ben Gibbard fan, and enjoys the indie side of things, it is still a great song, filled with a realistic view on the unrealistic expectations tethered to “The New Year“, especially in the opening lyrics:
“So this is the New Year,
and I don’t feel any different.”
The New Year has been described as a melancholy look at a New Year’s Eve party amid an uncertain future, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie explained that it’s not about him or even a specific person, but the girl in the song is an amalgamation of various women he’s encountered.
In the band’s 2011 Storytellers special, Gibbard said that he often gets visions of familiar character types and places them in different settings when he writes songs. He said: “This song is about a person who came to me one day and said she wanted to be written about. So it’s not really my story as much as it is hers. The song started out as a folk song, but it had to be ramped up a bit.”
The New Year is the opening song from the album Transatlanticism, a fitting “start” to an album, despite it being released in October of 2003, and not January of 2004. Transatlanticism is the fourth studio release from Death Cab For Cutie, and is written primarily by lead singer Ben Gibbard, and produced by Chris Walla.
Upon the album’s release, Transatlanticism received universal acclaim from music critics, and charted at # 97 on the Billboard 200. That album has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of 500,000 copies in the United States.
Editor’s Note: I vividly remember the day I bought the CD of Transatlanticism at a Tower Records in Costa Mesa whilst on a lunch break from work. Immediately after purchase I tore open the plastic casing and threw it in my CD player and cranked up the volume. This song washed over me, flooding me with a myriad of feelings. New Year’s have always been so important to me, yet the long lists of resolutions I was prone to make were ever a point of personal failure on down the road once the year actually begun. I wanted to feel different each and every time, but really, I never did. There was more than that surface reaction, too. Did I not always hope for something beyond this world from every romance I ever began with someone new? And, was I not similarly disappointed at some point once they started to become something lasting? Is life like that, with expectation and reality never quite matching up?