Death Cab for Cutie wants to “Thank You For Today”
Elizabeth Dundon | Thursday, September 6, 2018
For anyone who grew up with the indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie some 10 years ago like me, get ready to stand up and cheer. The group, best known for those melancholy hits of the late 2000s like “Soul Meets Body” is back and better than ever with the release of their new studio album, entitled “Thank You for Today.”
For a band that has been so present in the alternative-rock scene for so long, one would think that they would recycle the same sounds, limiting their opportunity to explore further. While Death Cab very much sticks to its roots in this record, especially with its opening song “I Dreamt We Spoke Again” (which I find very similar to “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” from the 2005 album “Plan”), Death Cab brings an more mature kind of introspective energy to the table in “Thank You for Today,” in which they break new ground and give us a perfect playlist to use for an upcoming road trip.
I credit keyboardists Dave Depper and guitarist Nick Harmer for providing a moving, resonant tone to each track, as well as drummer Jason McGeer for creating an authentic rhythm that is nostalgic yet optimistic, which is especially featured in my personal favorite, “60 and Punk.”
Benjamin Gibbard is, as always, excellent throughout the album. While Death Cab’s lead singer croons about old memories of his home and his fear of change around him in the whimsical “Gold Rush,” I noticed his strong ability to transport his listeners back in time to when things were simpler and souls weren’t broken just yet. He’s like the Marty McFly of this day and age, but just a little more in touch with his emotional side.
Gibbard’s poetic lyrics, however, do not encourage us to dwell in the past, but rather to celebrate it for what it was. He wants us, as sung in the moody “Autumn Love,” to be open to dig into “depths deeper than the deepest of connections.”
As Gibbard explained in an interview with Independent UK, the sweet, earnest title of the album originated from positive memories made in the studio throughout the recording process.
“A nightly sign-off that started out as an in joke borrowed from another band Costey (the producer), had worked with – ‘thank you for today!’ — quickly became sincere, and stuck… when Gibbard realized how much fun he was having in the company of the long-standing bandmates Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr (bass and drums, respectively).”
The eventual name for the record, “Thank You For Today,” speaks for itself — not only does it encourage listeners to recognize and be grateful for everything and everyone around them, but it’s also an invitation to embrace the ever-evolving, yet beautiful, present.
Favorites: “60 to Punk,” “Summer Years”
If You Like: The Postal Service, Modest Mouse, The National
Label: Atlantic Records
5/5 French Crosses
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.