Death Cab for Cutie Mixes It Up with Tenth Studio Album

Kayla Tehero, Staff Writer

Death Cab for Cutie, the alternative rock band founded locally in Bellingham, Washington, just released their newest album, “Asphalt Meadows,” in September. Founded in 1997, the band is celebrating its 25th anniversary, with “Asphalt Meadows” being the tenth album of their musical career.

For those who have not experienced Death Cab for Cutie style, it could be compared to Coldplay with its acoustic beats, melancholic themes, and nostalgic songwriting that transports you into your own memories.

For their newest album, Death Cab for Cutie hoped to try something new while remaining true to themselves. Lead singer Ben Gibbard told NME, “There is this delicate balance that you are always trying to strike between the spirit and the sonics of some of the older material, while also trying to push in some new directions,” In this regard, “Asphalt Meadows” has been a complete success. While nothing can compare to the soft melancholy of their previous albums such as “Transatlanticism” (2003) and “Plans” (2005), the band has used their newest album to effectively embrace the shiny and up-beat electric tunes that were uncommon throughout their previous discography, while still maintaining their iconic ability to tell a story through song. The most popular song from the album, titled “Here to Forever,” is a great example of this feat. Gibbard sings in typical Death Cab for Cutie fashion, “It ain’t easy living

above, and I can’t help but keep falling in love with bones and ashes.” And yet, “Here to Forever” has transitioned from their traditional acoustic sound to a happier, more electric beat despite its solemn lyrics.

Humorously, Gibbard’s favorite song, “Foxglove Through the Clearcut” which he describes as the “anchor of the record” took them twenty-five years to write, yet it is arguably the least likeable track on “Asphalt Meadows.” The sonics are beautiful, and while the lyrics are poetic as well, they are spoken rather than sung, which leaves the track sounding chaotic. It makes it difficult to sing along to and it distracts from the song’s melody.

Although “Foxglove Through the Clearcut” may be ahead of its time, the other songs on “Asphalt Meadows” have undoubtedly met Death Cab for Cutie’s goal; they create a bridge connecting the old to the new. The band began their “Asphalt Meadows” tour on Oct. 3 and will be performing at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Oct. 26-27.