My relationship with Death Cab for Cutie

I don’t remember the details of how it started, but it did. Some time around 2004. It may have been love at first listen. Despite being involved with the loud and off-balance noises of Fefe Dobson, Sugarcult, The Used, Avril Lavigne, Yellowcard, Coheed and Cambria and My Chemical Romance, I was intrigued by the quite opposite Death Cab for Cutie. In a lot of ways, they helped me move on (from the stuff listed above) and not just on — forward.

I became an avid listener. DCFC lulled my (teen) angst and powered my creativity. Is it cliché or standard that the most troubled artist, no matter their medium, produce the most honest art that genuinely appeals to their fans?

It’s funny how we can all take something different from the same thing, even if it was created with distinct intentions. Narrow Stairs was what Gibbard’s describes as the band’s most “depressing record” and yet I spent hours listening to the album and feeling inspired to write beautiful, beautiful poetry. Or what I thought was beautiful, beautiful poetry. Sometimes it was a bit sappy or tangled, but that album, along with so many others by DCFC, inspired me. Unbeknownst to me and many others, at the time of the record, Gibbard was struggling with addiction and everything that comes along with it, which he eventually (bravely) overcame.

Death Cab for Cutie didn’t save my life, but they made it more enjoyable.

I’ve only seen the band live once. It was in 2005. I had just turned 17 years old. I didn’t have a car and had to be dropped off at the show, which was an hour drive away. A lot of the memories are vague, but I remember the encore including the 7-minute-long “Transatlanticism.” I remember the cosmic feeling. I remember drifting in the sea of strangers. I remember the euphoria I experienced when retelling the details of the evening.

At said concert, I bought a shirt. I’ve outgrown the angst, but the t-shirt still fits and sometimes I’ll wear it to bed or out in public. The last time I wore it in public I went to the dentist where my 50 something-year-old dentist said he knew the band. I laughed it off thinking he was joking but soon found out that he’s a “big fan,” has seen them live, is looking forward to their new album, and “would like to see them when they come to town, but it’s on a weeknight and work the next day would be brutal.”

I don’t listen to DCFC as much as I used to. (I go through listening phases.) But I think I’ll always be a fan because I appreciate their music.

My point is:

You can stream Death Cab for Cutie’s Codes and Keys in its entirety on the always fabulous NPR by clicking here. The album has a release date of May 31 and the band is currently on tour.


One thought on “My relationship with Death Cab for Cutie

  1. Pingback: Mix: Teen | The Spec Blog

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