You’ve probably heard this album at some point. In all honesty there is every chance that you are listening to in now in your home or as you sit in the back seat of a car on a journey somewhere. If you haven’t listened to the album in its entirety, You have likely heard one or more of the songs on this one. It is possibly Death Cab’s most famous release, one that resonates so perfectly that it has become a standard for the band and for Ben Gibbard himself. However, that is not why it is a Stand Out Album. No, it is a stand out album because it means something to me, something hard to explain but I will try.
Why This Album?
Death Cab For Cutie was a band I happened by due to my love for alternative music. I was looking for something new and my wife (fairly newly married to me at the time) suggested this band she had heard of, Death Cab for something or another. I looked them up and found that they had an interesting sound and after enjoying them briefly, I forgot about them. I soon discovered them via The Postal Service and found that Ben had really become quite the musician. Not that he wasn’t previously but it seemed that he had found…something and I found that I really liked what it was. It wasnt long before I became obsessed with the Postal Service and then, in 2005, Plans was released.
Plans was something special. Having only been married a few years I found some of the tracks speaking to me in ways that few songs have before. This album, similar to The Postal Service’s Give Up, spoke of love, of loss and of finding it all over again. You see, this was not my first marriage and so I felt those feelings deeply. This album touched on those very strings of my heart and soul. Ben himself stated in a 2006 interview that the theme of the album is one of wishes and dreams, of making plans. “One of my favorite kind of dark jokes is, ‘How do you make God laugh? You make a plan.’ Nobody ever makes a plan that they’re gonna go out and get hit by a car. A plan almost always has a happy ending. Essentially, every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time. I really like the idea of a plan not being seen as having definite outcomes, but more like little wishes.”
I had had many plans in my life up to that point with many varying results. I still make plans to some degree but there is something to be said about rolling with the punches as they come. My wife and I are still together, we have been for nearly two decades, and we have survived so far by not making any permanent plans. We have just taken life in stride, with each other, every day. Maybe that is why this album keeps coming back to me, as it reminds me that everything is eventual no matter how hard you make plans for it otherwise.
There are some amazing songs on this album but there is one song that brings joy and sorrow to me all at once. It is one that, as a songwriter in a past life, I am jealous of. It is a song I wish I had written but glad that I discovered. It is an unassuming track, one that is simply a guitar and voice. It is track Five, ‘I will Follow You Into The Dark’ and it is one of those certain songs. Here is a live version.
I will admit, it gets me every time. EVERY. TIME.
Ok, Where do I get it?
You can pick up the disc here for around $11. It’s a good one, you won’t regret it.
Late to the Game 4/15/2019 (Originally published 05/29/2018)
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