for this post i’m not gonna get overly sentimental. or at least that’s the plan.
death cab for cutie is my favorite band in the world and the band i have liked for the longest amount of time consistently and i wanted to make my definitive (for now) list of favorite death cab albums.
8. codes and keys – 2011
there is something about this album i just … don’t like. i don’t listen to this album much. death cab kills an opening track and home is a fire is no exception. i love that song. saint peter’s cathedral is a good example of everything i love about a good death cab song. but overall? it doesn’t connect the way any other record of theirs does.
7. something about airplanes – 1998
this is not an album i don’t like, it’s not an album i do like. it sounds like early death cab for cutie but in a way that is significantly less enjoyable for me than we have the facts. it is okay and i enjoy it when it comes on but i’ve never thought to myself “i want to listen to something about airplanes”
6. kintsugi – 2015
this album has actually a few really fun songs. i enjoyed all the singles a lot. ingenue is good. there are few songs on this album i’m actively lukewarm on (good help is an exception. could do without that one). ghosts of beverly drive might be put pretty high on a list of my favorite death cab songs actually. i think it’s fun and i love a good Los Angeles hate song.
5. we have the facts and we’re voting yes – 2000
we have the facts is only 5th because i can’t in good faith put plans 5th. almost every song on this record is one i am excited to hear. 405 is one of my favorite death cab for cutie songs. title track. no joy in mudville. the employment pages.
a lot of really well done vocal and guitar effects. i’m a sucker for location based lyrics and ben gibbard does that so well. i love the world he builds in this album more than anything. it’s immersive and calming and i love it. could do without little fury bugs.
4. plans – 2005
plans opens with maybe the best opener ever written. marching bands of manhattan makes me excited to hear the rest of the album. makes me excited to be listening to death cab. i love so much about this album. every song feels like it belongs, every song feels full and dynamic and important. there is a reason these are top songs of theirs. these are some of their best songs. crooked teeth makes me happy to hear it.
but i just don’t listen to it like i used to. i loved plans when i was in 8th grade and dramatic. i do not think it is their most interesting work but i can recognize it is really incredible songwriting and integral to their catalog and it is representative of what i love about the band.
3. the photo album – 2001
i didn’t get into this album until a couple years ago but at this point i might listen to it in entirety more than any other death cab album. it makes me feel every emotion. i love the delicacy of some songs and how it gives way to a really satisfying build. the photo album feels like a logical step between we have the facts and transatlanticism. again, ben gibbard’s world building within the record is beautiful and this album holds a lot of songs i love.
including the best LA hate song ever written : why you’d want to live here
2. narrow stairs – 2008
narrow stairs has my favorite song ever written on it. cath.. is the most important song in my life and no song will ever make me feel what it does. overall, i think this is one of their most interesting projects. it feels different and exciting. the tracks flow into each other really well.
honestly? if i wasn’t for what i view as a weak ending track and some lulling on the back half of the album i might like it as much as i like transatlanticism.
1. transatlanticism – 2003
this album is death cab’s best. that’s not a hot take. plenty of people agree. the very first song i ever heard by them was title and registration through a mitchell davis/livelavalive party music video on youtube. i used to play just the few seconds they had it in the video repeatedly.
one of my friends has named a very specific insecurity complex i have my “tiny vessels complex”
i listen to the new year every year on new years eve
this might be the first album i ever discovered and listened to without the influence of anyone else. and godDAMN is it good. every song is vital. every song works together. the opening track is perfect. the slow songs don’t get tedious or feel corny. there’s a variety of tempos and dynamics.
this is an unequivocally perfect death cab album. one of my favorite albums ever written.
ben gibbard and chris walla are my lord and savior respectively.
originally posted april 6, 2018