Death Cab for Cutie
Transatlanticism


5.0
classic

Review

by Alex Getter USER (13 Reviews)
September 5th, 2011 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There'd be no distance that can hold us back.

I often ponder about what really defines an album as a true "classic" from beginning to end. Too often are great albums dragged down by minor details and a little bit of filler. Sometimes it takes time for an album to make its way into your heart. I remember when Kid A finally clicked. It took numerous listens for me to finally feel completely rewarded by it, nothing was immediate and I felt so distanced by it. The first time I heard Transatlanticsm immediately after purchasing it, I could only think of one word to describe it. Perfect. Never had I felt the draw to an album so quickly to want to make that accusation. I could have been wrong, but to this day Transatlanticism still gives me the same impression as much as it ever did. I still get goosebumps every time I hear the harmonizing of "So come on" on the piano-based title track, I still think think of every failed relationship when Gibbard sings "and now that's gone/it's like it wasn't there at all" on "Title and Registration" and I especially still feel weightless every time I hear him sing "with my feet on the dash/the world doesn't matter" on Passenger Seat.

Ben Gibbard has such a way with his words. Never are they too complex, too desperate or too gloomy. He often tells stories through his words; whether they be personal or completely fictional, the way he sings every line is painfully precise. His tone often evokes the position of neutral. He uses much emotion without using any emotion at all, letting your experiences and emotions fill in all of the gaps for which he provides. Every song feels like the metaphor for a relationship gone wrong, often alluding to a distance between two people. On the first track "The New Year" Gibbard sounds awfully sure of himself when he says "there'd be no distance that can hold us back", but by the time you reach "A Lack Of Color" he looks back regretfully when he sings "But I know it's too late/I should have given you a reason to stay". While Transatlanticism has no immediate concept, the allusion to this relationship feels apparent on all tracks.

As dark and emotional as Transatlanticism is, the songs aren't restricted to depressing or down-tempo tunes. Songs like "Expo 86" and "The Sound Of Settling" are surprisingly optimistic and bouncy, despite the dark lyrics. The most depressing song "Tiny Vessels" is Gibbard at his most bitter, telling of a fake love with lines such as "You are beautiful/but you don't mean a thing to me". The slowest and maybe most overlooked song on here "Lightness" may not be the most captivating musically, but has some of the best lyrics with lines such as "Oh instincts are misleading/you shouldn't think what you're feeling". On "Title and Registration" Gibbard relates the misleading name of a cars glove compartment to a place where he keeps an item that reminds him of a past love, which he must painfully go through while being pulled over on a rainy night. All of the songs have sort of continuity, being stitched together by random ambient effects to make each song amalgamate perfectly into the next song without interruption.

Transatlanticism is one of those records that undoubtedly stands the test of time. From the perfectly layered wall of sound guitars on "The New Year" to the splashes of piano behind the finger-picked acoustic guitar of "A Lack Of Color", Transatlanticism is an album that will pull at your emotions. It has all of the poppiness of past works to make it accessible, as well as the in-depth lyrics and emotions of Ben Gibbard to keep you coming back, over and over again.



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user ratings (1730)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
gotsthedewsdood
September 6th 2011


624 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

my favorite album ever probably.

wabbit
September 6th 2011


7009 Comments


ya pretty much

Eko
September 6th 2011


2119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such an awesome album

psykonaut
September 6th 2011


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good stuff. only death cab album that ever gets any plays from me

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2011


9049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Plans is better

gotsthedewsdood
September 6th 2011


624 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i feel like a few songs on plans bore me,
but Summer Skin one of the best things i've ever heard.

iFghtffyrdmns
September 6th 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just stopped in to say tat this is fucking awesomeeeeeee

auberginedreams
September 6th 2011


6056 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best death cab album by far.

Slum
September 6th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yes ride the jet skis in cabo

toxin.
September 6th 2011


12604 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Awesome album

kingjulian
September 6th 2011


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been feeling an urge to start listening to these guys again. Whenever I think of my favorite lyrics Death Cab always comes to mind.

Really good review, btw

808muzik
September 6th 2011


955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review is good. Album is even better. Love the title track SO much.

Digging: Vince Staples - Hell Can Wait

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2011


7026 Comments


very replayable album

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is the only death cab album worth the time. some of their others are good but nothing comes within light-years of touching this masterpiece.

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

MO
September 6th 2011


18859 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea this albums pretty good, probably the only album my gf has gotten me into

Phideaux
September 6th 2011


1654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely a great album.

Attis
September 6th 2011


333 Comments


definitely



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