216. Death Cab for Cutie – “Plans”

I’ve been a very good mood today.  My teaching commitments are done for the year and I have dived back into my research.  The sun has been shining and I’ve been contemplating a summer of much fun.

That makes reviewing this album a little difficult. 

This collection of tunes are on the melancholy side.  It’s not quite morose, slit your wrists stuff.  But, relative to the bands previous two albums, it is more measured and downbeat in temper.

There are more tracks built around piano rather than guitar.  Several of the tunes are quite dire in their content. What Sarah Said is a real departure for the band with Ben Folds-ish keys, and a heartbreaking insight into the experience of watching a friend pass out the wrong end of the intensive care unit.

There is still much to admire and embrace here, but just not on a summer day par excellence.

As an aside, this was a very astute Xmas present purchase from my now sis-in-law a few festive seasons ago.  Nice choice Steph!

File under: Synch with sinking feelings

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One response to “216. Death Cab for Cutie – “Plans”

  1. Sometimes music just finds you at the right time.
    My good friend Justin put me onto Death Cab when Plans had just been released. The first song of theirs that he played me was Marching Bands of Manhattan. I sat listening, headphones jammed into my ears, on the floor waiting to go into our Audio class just feeling an intense excitement build.
    I went out and bought the album that night and I don’t think that it left my car stereo for 4 months. It’s been said before that it’s a depressing set of songs. But I’m not sure that a) I agree or b) that it’s such a bad thing.
    Not every album should be a finger-clicking, thigh-slapping good time. At the risk fo sounding pretentious, I like the depth of Plans.
    And I don’t really find the songs depressing at all. I think they are just beautifully constructed and elegant.
    The lyrics on this album are amazingly well written and in many ways I would classify this as a concept album. I think it holds together so well as a whole (and in a time of singles and downloads I find that incredibly refreshing). The themes may not be uplifting and the vibe a touch melancholy, but the beauty and delicate layers make me smile. As an Audio student at the time, I found this album inspirational. Each song seems so tenderly recorded and engineered. I could listen to a single track on repeat just amazed at how they got it so damn perfect.
    From Plans I traveled though Death Cabs back catalog and have remained a huge fan of theirs over the last few years (saw them live only a few months ago) but I know that Plans will always be my favorite Death Cab album.
    Be a geek, shut your eyes and listen to Brothers on a Hotel Bed. Genius.

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