I got into writing for this blog in order to expand my musical horizons. I've been looking forward to hearing new things that I both love and hate. I'm interested in finding out whether I can be eloquent and realistically criticise something without just saying "This sucks!"
Today was my 5th spin of Death Cab for Cutie's fourth album, Transatlanticism. It sucks! Just kidding. I'll explain...
Like I said, I've been struggling with this.
Here's the thing. A few words came to mind when I listened to this album. They were words like "melancholy", "stunning", "majestic", "sincere", and "uplifting".
However, in the context of this album, for me, these are not good words. This is the breakthrough album, Death Cab's biggest commercial success to date. But it feels... boring. True, Ben Gibbard is a modern poet. He's intelligent. This album is full of meandering thoughts and tales of love and separation. To read the lyrics is inspiring, almost like studying a poet in school, wondering what goes through this guy's head, the lost indie kid inside me feeling his pain, and pretentiously feeling intelligent because I understand and identify with the lyrics.
But my God, it's boring! I've listened to this a few times now, hoping I could find at least a couple of tracks that I can add to my chilled out playlist. But it's too boring. It's so sweeping and majestic (again). The production of Chris Walla is awesome, don't get me wrong, but I find myself listening intently to the words and not the music. It's kinda like background music, which isn't the nicest thing to say to a band who have obviously worked hard on the music.
The album opens with 'The New Year'. I've written a similar poem, about how New Year is much ado about nothing. It flows nicely into 'Lightness' which I read somewhere is catchy. Er... no it's not! The album flows together perfectly, actually. But again, it's hard to enjoy the music.
I'd like to say the album finally bursts into life with 'We Looked Like Giants'. But it doesn't. It is the most exciting track, but still relatively boring.
My conclusion: This album is for you if you're emotional, you want to lay back, close your eyes and feel sad but uplifted. If lyrics are most important. But if you want decent dreamy emotive lyrics, from an indie band that are actually capable of rocking, listen to Feeder.
3/10: Not for everyone, but played well.
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