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Music Review: Death Cab For Cutie – Plans

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Some reviews are so predictable. If the reviewer is an enthusiast, then you know what you are going to get. I could apologize for being a fan and be super critical or I could give you my frank opinion about what I love so much about the gang and their paramount album, Plans.

This is the band at their peak. This album was the group showing that they were ready for the large. The success of this album can be attributed to Chris Walla’s skillful production of the LP. The band’s producer and guitarist makes the weirdest of sounds seem absolutely natural and hip.

“Soul Meets Body” has grown on me this year. It is the song that made me aware of the fact that the drummer is an unrecognized whiz kid. Ben Gibbard’s “American style voice” is infectious. Soft melodies softly soaring through my atmosphere teamed with funky percussion is incredible. Ben Gibbard says, “If the silence takes you, then I hope it takes me too”. The catchy “ba da ba da ba ba” passages hold the song together. This track is definitely the band’s better experiment. Being the lead single, it is a smooth, clean cut, pop track.

“I Will Follow You Into The Dark” is so profound and evocative, I would cry to the song. Unfortunately, I am not capable of crying because I have a heart of stone. Anyway, this song is one of their better moments. It is without a doubt the album’s quiet centerpiece. It features just Gibbard on acoustic guitar. The simple delivery is so effective. He personalizes the afterlife and draws in on childhood experiences. Benjamin is impressive to say the least.

Gibbard creates feeling with a sweet emo melody and lyrics without all of the tragedy of the emo scene. He does this with lines like, “Catholic school, as vicious as roman rule/ I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black/I held my tongue as she told me ‘son, fear is the heart of love’/So I never went back”. The song in its sweet simplicity has always made me sit back and smile.

I can see the band making one or two more albums and then giving it a rest, settling down into collaborative and producing roles. Death Cab For Cutie have had an amazing decade in the industry, and I think Plans is the finest album they have made. This album was the most mature and well written Death Cab For Cutie LP. This is an amazing little pop record of amazing little pop songs. It isn’t a musical revolution; it’s a musical lullaby reinforcing every aspect of musical brilliance that we worship.

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About Sarah Marshman

  • cj

    Good review except that I would never categorize any of Gibbard’s vocals as “emo.” His voice is too soft and not nearly annoying enough to be considered in that category.

  • Jared

    I don’t agree with your comment about one or two more albums…. Death Cab will be around for a while to come. = D.