Let’s all take a moment to digest the fact that after 17 years, guitarist Chris Walla had just left Death Cab for Cutie, the band that arguably defined my generation’s music and pioneered the indie genre. These songs considered as emo by many were easy to relate to back when I was in my teens and going through many awkward phases in my life. It’s amazing how in my mid-20’s now, they still manage to remain relevant in even deeper ways.
The band will definitely not be the same from here on out and while the thought of a Walla-less DCFC is a little weird, I’m sure the trio will continue to do amazing things. What are your favorites? Let’s talk about them and be sad together on Twitter.
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This song is certainly one of the band’s very best, which talks about distance and not necessarily in the physical sense. Back then, when I first fell in love with the song, I took everything at face value and the meaning was much simpler to me. I loved it more for its sound and how it sounded perfect while driving in the freeway at night. But now, as I navigate my mid-20’s in this age of “hyperconnectivity” where it’s stupidly much harder to truly connect with other people, it’s become more of an ode to loneliness and basic human companionship. I may sound a bit dramatic, but that’s probably why I’m a DCFC fan in the first place.
I’ve always loved this song for the simple, straightforward lyrics describing scenes of a fun summer leading to a brief love affair gone wrong. It reminds me of a much easier time when I was a little more naive and it was easier to fall in and out of love. Gibbard bravely confronts the failure of a relationship without regret and admits he knew it wasn’t going to work out anyway. Next.
I Will Follow You Into the Dark
I used to think this song was creepy, but I heard it for the first time when I was really, really young. How would you feel if the love of your life started singing to you about how you’ll die someday, but worry not because he’ll follow you? Now I see it more as a song about unconditional and unwavering love that promises to endure everything, even death.
Brothers on a Hotel Bed
This is the first song Chris Walla ever wrote for the band and it’s beautiful. A song about the inevitable decay of a relationship. I don’t even want to talk about this because it’s so fucking sad. Just listen to it.
A Lack of Color
Here’s a song about a guy so sure of someone except that someone left because he didn’t fight hard enough. I should have given you a reason to stay being repeated over and over again towards the end just reeks of regret. So much regret. There’s a real depressing trend in these older DCFC songs and it’s probably why I was such a sad kid.
Honestly, I don’t even like this song all that much, but I think we need to take a moment to appreciate Gibbard’s short-lived marital bliss that made him write the more optimistic Codes and Keys. The center of the record, to me, is this song, which is such a simple love song written so specifically for a certain doe-eyed lady whom he wanted to grow old with. Sigh.
A Movie Script Ending
The thing about Death Cab for Cutie songs is that they’re so perfect for when you’re on the road. “A Movie Script Ending”, with its beautiful and unmistakable guitar intro, never fails to give me the shivers every time it comes on in full volume. This is my ultimate go-to song for when I just want to sit back, relax, and feel things.
This song is way too short, but so good. It sounds and feels like the end of a night and you’re just about ready to pass out. Then you make eye contact with that one person you’re willing to stay up for a couple more hours for, but you’re not quite sure what to do.
Different Names for the Same Thing
I relate to this song a lot because it’s about displacement and coping with the many barriers that come with it. When I was in film school years ago, I lived in an apartment with Spanish-speaking girls and the first month was just so rough as I struggled to communicate with them. “I knew no words to share it with anyone. The boundaries of language I quietly cursed and all the different names for the same thing.” I don’t think anyone’s been able to describe the feeling as well as Gibbard has.
The Sound of Settling
A simple and classic upbeat DCFC song about being shy and awkward around other people and missing opportunities because of it. I think every human being who spends more than a couple hours a day on the internet has some form of social anxiety now and this song is a good reminder that we’ll get old soon. We probably shouldn’t waste time sitting here and wondering what could be. Easier said than done, but it’s more important than ever.