Some things can be described as beautiful: babies, pets, the weather, or even a song. But you rarely hear of a whole album being described as being beautiful, but Death Cab For Cutie's "Plans" is exactly that.
The lead singer's has a voice were he sings like he needs something so badly, such as a girl, and he is never going to stop until he is going to get it. And the song writing is that way too. There are many ways you can describe the music: Weird, Pussy, or unique. I would personally like to think this is one of the most unique indie albums I have heard in a while.
The instruments and atmosphere are varied from track to track, which is not only cool but also brilliant. Like in the first track: "Marching Bands Of Manhattan", it might sound like a marching band is playing at the begging of the track and during the chorus. Or during the hit single, " I Will Follow You Into The Dark", you get this kind of desperation dark feeling that goes along with the lyrics and the song title, and it ends up being gorgeous.
The album is beautiful in the first track mostly because of the instruments, but the album hasn't got to it's lyrical brilliance into the second track: "Soul Meets Body", when Death Cab For Cutie combines beautiful lyrical work with great instruments that accompanied the sound like in the breakdown of this track, it is hard to find a more unique band. We saw a preview of this during the first track: "Marching Bands Of Manhattan" during the breakdown but nothing is like this. The tone of the voice of the lead singer explodes into a sorrowful and beautiful breakdown with great lyrics. The thing is that the song has an average chorus but the breakdown makes up for it and it shows the potential that this band has. The song also has one of the coolest laid-back beats of the album; it's not just the lead singer and his guitar, there is some nice drum work and some cool electric guitar work. This is the first glimpse of the potential this band has when they combine their unique instrumental work with their weird lyrical work.
"Summer Skin" sounds like an interlude but an interlude but it ends up being a decent song that could be a lot better. The lyrics at the start of the song mix perfectly with the piano in the background and the drum set is pretty well done on this particular song. "Summer Skin", doesn't really have any structure though, there might as well be no choruses and no emotion to the song. And the lead singers good song writing isn't used perfectly because of the lack of emotion in the song. And for a third track, which is usually the best track on the album, this song is pretty weak.
"Different Names For The Same Thing", is a perfect tie-in to the next classic track, but it is a unique track in it's own way. The piano distorts the lead singer vocals at the start of the song, but the chorus proves that this isn't just another filler like the previous track. The lead singer voice practically cracks while he screams: "Different Names For The Same Things", and a cool little instrumental part follows that. This song is really unique to the album because it combines all the bands sounds into one song, that's why you would wish that this song could be longer and stretch out more so people could see all those sounds. The chorus is repeated to a beautiful beat as the song closes, and we see it lead perfectly into the next track.
" I Will Follow You Into The Dark", is a classic on this album. It is a straight up acoustic track with really no other instruments and it shows the song-writing capabilities of the lead singer. The acoustic beat perfectly accompanies the lead singer first stanza of the lyrics, and the chorus is one of the best I have heard in a while. The song continues with some emotional but yet imaginative lyrics of the album, that lead smoothly again into that nice chorus. Structure wise, this is the best song on the album, it has a: breakdown, surrounding lines, and a clear chorus. And I think that makes it special and in the breakdown which is the best breakdown so far on the album besides the second track the lead singer sounds like he is about to cry when he screams: "In the blackest of rooms", the chorus is repeated unnesciarly one more time and the song ends.
Though not that in lyrical content, the acoustic fast-playing beat makes, "Your Heart Is An Empty Room", the most upbeat songs on the album. It comes out with quick and meaningful lyrics and another good chorus following the best chorus on the album in the last song. But I feel the unique surrounding lyrics to the chorus make this song special, and the beat change during the chorus for the last time also makes it really cool. A nice song overall and a good track following one of the albums singles.
"Someday You Will Be Loved", goes back to the habits of the songs earlier on the album with a lack of structure and it is instrumental lead but I believe it is better than those songs. The song features a piano beat that really brings out the songs "Chorus" and it works out beautiful. Though the surrounding lines lack emotion it seems to somehow be a soft and loud song because in the chorus the lead singers pitch gets higher, and following this seems to be a quick 20 second guitar solo something you would never expect on this album. The chorus is repeated again and the third straight solid song ends.
"Crooked Teeth", reminds me too much of "Summer Skin" earlier on the album. The song seems to be telling a story of emptiness and the chorus is alright but sounds to much like the chorus in "Your Heart Is An Empty Room" still dealing with the lead singers emptiness. If this is the first song you listen to on the album it seems brilliant, but if it is the third of fourth it already seems repetitive and dull. The breakdown is pretty stupid and the distorted guitar solo really doesn't do anything.
"What Sarah Said", combines all of the bands talents into a song that lasts over 6 minutes. The song starts with some funeral-sounding piano following lyrics that sound like a college student can write; they seem to be telling a story better than any song on this album has told. The piano is beautiful and the guitar though rarely heard is very good as well. The song also has a good structure with a clear chorus and a pretty good breakdown at the end of the song. Though I wouldn't say this song is epic, it definitely is a classic on this type of album.
"Brothers On A Hotel Bed", is sort of a disappointment following the last track. Lasting at over 4 minutes, the song starts with a some really repetitive piano to start the song and then it moves into some funky drums which sound like they are they are trying to give the song a dancing feel. And when the vocals start though they somewhat accompanied the beat, they never use the drums in the lyrics and the vocals are some of what we have already heard on this album. The repititviness in this song and the lack of structure make this one of the weakest songs on the album.
"Stable Song", is a good closer to the album. The beat is very cool with the distorted piano and guitar that support the lead singer vocals perfectly. Though this song is not an optimistic closer to the album, it really sums up the album perfectly. And it is still a good closer to the album.
In conclusion, Death Cab For Cutie can be one of the most talented bands out there when they combine the beautiful sounds they make with there instruments with the catchiness of the lead singer song-writing. Though it only happens during a few songs on this album, it still shows the bands potential that they could have.
Individual Track Ratings:
1. Marching Bands Of Manhattan 4/5
2. Soul Meets Body 5/5
3. Summer Skin 3/5
4. Different Names For The Same Thing 4/5
5. I Will Follow You Into The Dark 5/5
6. Your Heart Is An Empty Room 4/5
7. Someday You Will Be Loved 4.5/5
8. Crooked Teeth 3/5
9. What Sarah Said 5/5
10. Brothers In A Hotel Bed 3/5
11. Stable Song 4.5/5
-The Overall Sound Is Beautiful
- 3 Songs Received perfect ratings
- Shows lots of potential
- Rarely combines instrumental and lyrical potential
- Summer Skin and Brothers In A Hotel Bed
- Can They Progress There Sound"
Songs I Would Recommend:
Soul Meets Body
I Will Follow You Into The Dark
What Sarah Said