So it's late, I can't sleep, I've been carousing the site and I noticed "Hey! There's no review for Death Cab's 'Plans'!" So, here I go.
I'm gonna admit I'm not a huge indie kid who immediately falls at the feet of whatever trendy artist or group pops out with a new album. That being said, the older Death Cab albums were alright. They don't get constant rotation these days for me, but I do enjoy a track or two occasionally. Transatlanticism is where I was hooked. I will probably write a review of that if I feel so inclined.
Anyways, Plans came out in mid 2005 and I didn't listen to it at all. In my mind there was no way it could compare to Transatlanticism. I was still playing that album as if it had just come out. Eventually I broke down, bit by bit, and I started to take in Plans. There was a girl I would call fairly regularly, and instead of a normal ring, I would get one of those ringback tones. The first time I heard the song, I thought to myself, "Shit, this is so familiar. Guy with a higher pitched somewhat whiny voice singing something about a faucet."
"Marching Bands of Manhattan" is a beautiful introduction to the album. The song is just crafted wonderfully and is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. This is also a shining example of why I have to give the lyrics a 10. Gibbard's way with words and painting imagery is just completely top notch. Also, upon first listen, one can't really tell if this is a sad song or a happy song. Maybe happy isn't the right word, but you know what I mean.
"Soul Meets Body" is probably what the band is most well known for with maybe one or two exceptions. I find it hard not to tap my foot while listening to this one. Really solid track with some charming vocals.
"Summer Skin" is pretty emo but finds a way to retain a lot of sincerity. It's a very simple song, but after seeing it live I have a much greater appreciation for it.
"I Will Follow You Into The Dark" is one of those songs where sometimes you'll be listening to it with a girl and she'll be all "Aww, he's talking about dying! How sweet!" Sure thing baby, but dying sucks. Gibbard makes it sound maybe not so awful if you've got that special someone with you.
"Your Heart Is An Empty Room" is a masterpiece in my opinion - from the instrumentation, to the structure, to the vocals, and especially the lyrics. This is a great track to put onto a mixtape, and I believe it is one of Death Cab's more underrated and "unknown" tracks.
"Someday You Will Be Loved" reminds me of my ex girlfriend post breakup, so I don't really have much to say about it. Pretty good song, not my favorite. Seems to be written for a sad girl who more than likely wasn't very attractive and got dumped so the boy could bang her hot friend. Teehee.
"Crooked Teeth", oh me oh my. What a track. And the video? Wild. Random cardboard robots singing Death Cab songs. Brilliant. Catchy song, addictive chorus.
"What Sarah Said" is my favorite song on the album. The piano introduction is gorgeous. The other instruments coming in and building up is terrific. The lyrics are heart breaking and yet very easy to relate to assuming you've been in a situation like he is describing. The breakdown in the end is a perfect finish to the track. Listening to Gibbard say "So who's going to watch you die" over and over is completely haunting. 6 minutes of Death Cab at it's finest.
"Brothers on a Hotel Bed" and "Stable Song" are also solid tracks, albeit not my favorite. I think they could have found a better closer to the album. "Stable Song" feels like it belongs in the middle portion of the album, if not sooner. Nevertheless, I'm not complaining.
This album is just plain good. It's not entirely a new direction, nor is it groundbreaking, but it is executed damn near flawlessly. If you're a fan of Death Cab, you must own this, and you probably already do. If you like music, and don't just listen to Panic!, Fall Out Boy, Nickleback, or The Pussycat Dolls, get this album. Now.
As for this being as good as Transatlanticism....hmmm.....
Plans is alright, but Transatlanticism is one of the best cds of the past ten years.
My knee jerk reaction was to disagree about Transatlanticism being in that category. But then I took a minute to think of my favorite albums in that time and I realized you are absolutely right. Plans took some work for me to get into. It's really grown on me based on the strength of a handful of very strong tracks, but to me it's just a notch below Transatlanticism.
i like how not being a bandwagon jumper was an admission
i was just trying to say that i don't immediately get down on my knees and suck the dick of whatever seems to be the current cool thing to be a fan of. i've seen so many douche bags be all up on Death Cab just because it became the big indie band to love, kinda like The Shins...