Death Cab For Cutie :: My Favorite Artists/Bands

Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie :: My Favorite Artists/Bands

Transatlanticism was an album bought on a whim one afternoon when I’d gone to a record store on my lunch break to browse, pick up some new music, and cheer myself up. Ever since I was a very young girl I have always associated record stores with mood lifting, as my Mother used to take me with her to visit the music any time she was down, or needed to reconnect, or sometimes just because. It was one of those days, stresses at work, problems at home, and I was in desperate need of some musical therapy. The name of the album, and the striking cover, are what drew me to the album, so I bought it “sound-unseen”, and it when I slid it into my car stereo’s CD player and hit play, and The New Year started to play, the healing began.


That may sound dramatic, but I am honestly relating it from my memory, that kind of instant reaction I had to the album. Yes, many, if not all, of the songs were heartbreaking, but sometimes that is just what you need to feel understood, less alone, and somehow, despite the pain, stronger for it. It is a musical shared collective consciousness, that knowing that everyone feels this way, heartbroken and lost and longing to connect. The album became a close friend and companion, in that musical sense, and part of my personal soundtrack.

After awhile it was set aside while other albums came into my life, but then I entered in to a long-distance relationship, one that had an ocean between us and an eight hour time difference. Suddenly the album came rushing back to me, and the sentiments in every song resonated even deeper than they ever had before. The lyric “I need you so much closer” was a song that I felt in my bones, a lyric I cried to and sang to and felt in my soul. There were more, too, like the line in The New Year that said:

I wish the world was flat like the old days,
then I could travel just by folding a map.
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways;
there’d be no distance that could hold us back

The relationship fell apart eventually. The distance did hold us back, as did the ghost of his past lover that just never went away. The album stayed though, first as a comfort and a release for all the tears I needed to shed to get over the heartbreak I was trying to survive, and get over, and then later, the album evolved into something else. Great albums, the ones that stick and stay with you as a forever favorite do that, just like books that you go back and re-read at different moments in your life, each time feeling something different.


Then along came Plans, right when I needed it, right when I found myself opening my heart again, and making some significant changes in my life. Summer Skin was my initial favorite, but Someday You Will Be Loved and Soul Meets Body followed soon after. I Will Follow You Into the Dark broke me a few years later, and still is hard to listen to. It is beautiful, but fraught with hurt and regret that I still cannot shake. It is one of those songs that always brings tears.


Not long after falling for Plans I would go back and get acquainted with their earlier albums. Though none would hit me as hard and fast as Transatlanticism first did, I would come to love them, as well. Narrow Stairs and Codes and Keys never quite captured me, though there are songs that stand out and became part of my musical soundtrack, like You Can Do Better Than Me (on Narrow Stairs) and Monday Morning and You are a Tourist (on Codes and Keys).

I am anxiously awaiting the new album, Kintsugi, that is coming at the end of March – I’m already loving Black Sun so much.


I hope this is the year I finally get to see the band play live, I can’t believe I’ve missed them so many times before.

We Are The Rhoads Client: DCFC

Death Cab for Cutie were formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band comprises Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, piano), Nick Harmer (bass) and Jason McGerr (drums). In 2014, founding guitarist and producer Chris Walla announced that he would be departing from the band after recording their forthcoming eighth studio album, so now the band has become three.

Ben Gibbard took the band name from the song Death Cab for Cutie written by Neil Innes and Vivian Stanshall and performed by their group the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. The song’s name was in turn taken from an invented pulp fiction crime magazine The Uses of Literacy, devised by Richard Hoggart as part of his 1957 study of working class culture.

Originally a solo project of Ben Gibbard, he released the demo album, You Can Play These Songs with Chords, to positive reception, which led to a record deal with Barsuk Records. Gibbard decided to expand the project into a complete band, releasing their debut album, Something About Airplanes in 1998, and their second album, We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes, in 2000; both records were positively received in the indie community.

Their third album, 2001’s The Photo Album, gave the band their first charting single, however the release of the group’s fourth album, Transatlanticism, in 2003 gained the band mainstream critical and commercial success. After signing with Atlantic Records, Death Cab For Cutie released their fifth album and major-label debut, Plans, in 2005, which received platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America.

The band released their sixth album, Narrow Stairs, in 2008 served as a stylistic departure for the group, and their seventh album, 2011’s Codes and Keys, featured the band’s first number one single, You Are a Tourist. Their eighth studio album Kintsugi, the last to feature Walla, is set for release in March 2015.


My Top 10 Favorite Death Cab For Cutie Songs:

1. A Lack of Color
from the album, Transatlanticism

This is fact not fiction,
for the first time in years

2. Tiny Vessels
from the album, Transatlanticism

“I spent two weeks,
in Silverlake,
the California sun cascading down my face.
there was a girl,
with light brown streaks,
and she was beautiful,
but she didn’t mean a thing to me.”

3. Transatlanticism
from the album, Transatlanticism

“I need you so much closer.”

4. Summer Skin
from the album, Plans

“And, I knew your heart I couldn’t win,
cause the seasons change was a conduit,
and we left our love in our summer skin.”

5. Someday You Will Be Loved
from the album, Plans

“You may feel alone when you’re falling asleep,
and every time tears roll down your cheeks,
but I know your heart belongs to someone you’ve yet to meet;
someday you will be loved.”

6. Passenger Seat
from the album, Transatlanticism

“I strain my eyes and try to tell the difference,
between shooting stars and satellites,
from the passenger seat,
as you are driving me home.

“Do they collide?”
I ask and you smile,
with my feet on the dash,
the world doesn’t matter.”

7. I Will Follow You Into the Dark
from the album, Plans

“If Heaven and Hell decide,
that they both are satisfied,
illuminate the “No”‘s on their vacancy signs,
if there’s no one beside you,
when your soul embarks,
then I will follow you into the dark.”

8. Black Sun
from the forthcoming album, Kintsugi

“How could something,
so fair,
be so cruel,
when this,
black sun,
around you.”

9. A Movie Script Ending
from the album, The Photo Album

“Passing through unconscious states,
when I awoke I was on the highway,
with your hand on my shoulders,
a meaningless movement,
a movie script ending,
and the patrons are leaving,

10. Monday Morning
from the album, Codes & Keys

“The night is gonna fall and the vultures will surround you,
and when you’re lookin’ in the mirror what you see is gon’ astound you.
But all these lines and greys refine,
they are the maps of our design,
of what began on a Monday morning.”


11 thoughts on “Death Cab For Cutie :: My Favorite Artists/Bands

  1. Nice! I use to like them a lot and I have this memory of driving to and from work in Winter around 2007 and listening to them a lot and it helping me relax on the drive though I also remember listening to Bon Jovi non-stop on my way to work for a couple of months. I just needed to hear this music at that time. I haven’t heard their latest music so I’m listening to “Black Sun” now. I would love to recapture what I felt from them in the past.

    1. I love bands/albums like that, that you just have to listen to during certain times and places.

      What do you think of Black Sun?

      What were some of your favorite songs back then?

      1. I listened to Plans mostly but I remember listening to “Title and Registration” & I associate it with winter driving now.
        I liked Black Sun but I wasn’t crazy for it, yet, I’ll probably go back to it. Sometimes I’m not “ready”!

      2. I wasn’t ready the first 5 times I listened to Black Sun, after it was released, and then suddenly I was.

        That happens to me sometimes, too.

      3. Oh man! I love Laura Palmer & Things We Lost in the Fire…so much…and Bad Blood…and the entire album actually. I got into them and that album around the time I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier – and since then I associate them to each other (I’m a weirdo!)

      4. Didn’t you post the Laura Palmer video on your blog once? Or am I imagining that. I think I saw the video there first. I guess I should thank you! Thank you!

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