Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Though it may be the band’s fifth studio album, Death Cab for Cutie’s album Plans is by far the group’s best work. The 2005 classic indie rock album features some of the band’s top-selling songs, each one exuding incomparable dreaminess.
The intro track, “Marching Bands of Manhattan,” starts with a beautiful organ before lead singer Ben Gibbard slides in with his vocals. His range is immediately noticeable as he sighs into high-notes. The methodical electric guitar and drumbeat reflects the marching bands mentioned in the title. In classic Death Cab style, the lyrics are deeply poetic, with lines like “Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole / Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound.” The sounds build, becoming almost like an anthem by the end, punctuated by Gibbard’s steady voice.
And of course, who could forget “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”? By far the band’s most popular single, the song is much more minimal than the rest of the album. With only Gibbard’s voice and an acoustic guitar, “I Will Follow You into the Dark” reflects on mortality. The song was minimally edited, making Gibbard’s voice louder and his breathing audible, creating a raw, natural sound. It’s a melancholic melody, introspective and peaceful.
On the opposite end of the sound spectrum, “Crooked Teeth” is an upbeat, dance-worthy song. The song reflects an unhappy relationship, though the sound itself is much more joyful. A fast tempo accompanies much more complex guitar riffs, and of course, the lyrics are just as poetic as the rest of the album: “I built you a home in my heart with rotten wood meant to cave from the start.”
As the inspiration for the modern day hipster trend, Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans is the epitome of early 2000s indie music. Poetic, pensive and placid, the album is truly a work of art. Every listening is like hearing the album for the first time.