Death Cab for Cutie
Thank You For Today


2.5
average

Review

by Jack Fraser USER (22 Reviews)
August 14th, 2018 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And you are beautiful, but you don't mean a thing to me.

Death Cab for Cutie have been around for twenty-one years. Their most acclaimed album was released fifteen years ago. The most successful song they ever wrote first ruined college open-mics thirteen years ago. Their guitarist and producer quit three years ago. That Thank You For Today is a pleasant, very listenable record is reflective of an aging band trying to create a safe and stable album and somewhat succeeding.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most uninspired aspect of the record is Ben Gibbard’s contributions. Formerly the earnest thesaurus-wielding bard of the doomed teenage relationship, Gibbard’s talents for imagery and melodrama appear to have worn over time. Here he struggles even to nail wistful nostalgia, striking out on what would once have been easy bunts. The vapidly pretty Instagram-filtered opener “I Dreamt We Spoke Again,” while likely to become a fixture on Urban Outfitters background playlists across the continent, provides little substance on the lyrical front. Neither does lead single "Gold Rush"- a gentrified-coffee-shop-ready song about the tragedy of gentrification, featuring insightful and brilliant rhymes such as "Please don't change/Stay the same."

These flaws are masked with a solid sheet of reverb and keyboards, and the group clearly have learned one or two lessons from departed member Chris Walla about elevating mediocre material with atmospheric beauty. Stepping in on lead guitar, Gibbard does a capable impression of his former bandmate, but what this record ultimately lacks is Walla’s instinct for when a bit of grit and variation is necessary, flattening its sound significantly. Where they do occur, the flourishes – the toothless twang of “Gold Rush” and an effects-heavy lead riff on “Autumn Love” cribbed directly from a 2014 U2 single – disrupt rather than transcend the dreaminess.

Were this record released in 2008 it might be considered disappointing, but in keeping with an album preoccupied with the passage of time Thank You For Today firmly but gently closes the book on Death Cab for Cutie as an essential indie rock band worthy of deep emotional investment. And that's okay. These are ten pretty, well-produced songs from an aging band that has earned the right to simply release pleasant music.



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user ratings (112)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
YadMot (3)
There was so much I needed to say, and nothing came out the right way....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Veldin
August 14th 2018


3839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Walla left the band!? Aw, shucks.

theBoneyKing
August 15th 2018


16327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review. Still one of my favorite bands but it sounds like this is going to be exactly what I expected based on the singles...sad, but they’ve given us so much great material in the past that I can’t begrudge them too much.

onionbubs
August 15th 2018


11243 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

singles are both a good representation of the albums sound and also kinda the worst examples of them doing the sound. your hurricane, summer years, the closer and a couple others are pretty solid



listened again yesterday and while it’s stoll far from their best, it’s decent and a little better than their last two

Digging: Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan

thecheatisnotdead
August 15th 2018


994 Comments


Will give this a listen, but not terribly optimistic, even if Kintsugi was a (very slight) step up from the all-around lamentable Codes & Keys.

michaelthebishop
August 15th 2018


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In my opinion, this was their best album since Narrow Stairs. Sure it's not perfect but the filler is passable (and ironically I think the 3 songs that were released before hand, I Dreamt We Spoke Again, Gold Rush, and Autumn Love are all on the verge of filler) but there's some really good songs on here. Particularly Summer Years, Your Hurricane and 60 and Punk. 60 and Punk may actually be one of the saddest and therefore greatest songs they've ever done.

momentsofclarity
August 15th 2018


433 Comments


singles were reaaaaally boring

onionbubs
August 15th 2018


11243 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

also shoutout the best possible summary for this album

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2018


12092 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Great review

Digging: Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

plane
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2018


7576 Comments


Ace review

RadioSuicide
August 15th 2018


803 Comments


Good review, sounds exactly like what i expected

Point1
August 15th 2018


492 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Thanks guys, it's been a really time since I wrote a review so I'm glad it turned out okay.

Doctuses
August 16th 2018


1916 Comments


Atrocious band

Cris13Sic
August 17th 2018


5 Comments


this band only did one good song.. "I Will Possess Your Heart".

iambandersnatch
August 17th 2018


1813 Comments


"this band only did one good song.. "I Will Possess Your Heart". "

I know theyve gotten pretty bad the last several albums, but no way

theBoneyKing
August 17th 2018


16327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Whoa, “Summer Years” is actually pretty great.



Enjoyed the whole album a decent amount on first spin, sure it’s a far cry from their heyday but it’s so earnest and generally pretty enough that I can’t actively dislike it (aside from “Gold Rush” that is). Perfect vibe for these late summer days. Well done boys.

jeremologyy
August 17th 2018


293 Comments


Have to listen to this still but I don't have high hopes... Was hoping this review delved into more songs than just the three singles though. :-(

theBoneyKing
August 17th 2018


16327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fwiw two of the three singles were my two least favorites on first spin. Far from a great album but I’d hazard this is better than the previous two. Little variety but it’s a nice atmospheric vibe I can see myself going back to.

Point1
August 17th 2018


492 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

@jeremologyy Honestly the reason I didn't go deeply into the rest is that a.) I wanted to keep the review short because I think by it's nature I don't think this is the kind of record that merits a deep dive and b.) Aside from the singles, which aren't particularly strong, I don't find the other songs on the album very memorable at all or worthy of picking out. I think everybody will have their favourites and least favourites but this record is more about a vibe and a sound than very strong songs. "60 and Punk" is the only real unique deep cut but I don't find it very compelling.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2018


24535 Comments


jammin now and it aint toooo bad

theBoneyKing
August 18th 2018


16327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Found it a bit blander on second listen, a few great songs though. Between a 2.5 and 3.



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