“You can do better than me, but I can’t do better than you.” Although filled with thoughtfully self-deprecating lyrics such as these, when paired with their uniquely upbeat melodies, Death Cab for Cutie pleases my listening ears. Their newest album, “Narrow Stairs,” was released in May.
Death Cab is comprised of frontliner Ben Gibbard on vocals, guitar, and other instruments; Nick Harmer on bass; Jason McGerr on drums; and Chris Walla on guitar, as well as other instruments. According to their website, the band formed 10 years ago in Bellingham, Wash.
One of the most musically happy sounding songs on the album, “No Sunlight,” complete with pleasant electric guitar riffs and exciting drum beats, is centered around the less-than-joyful lyrics: “With every year that came to pass more clouds appear until the sky went black. And now there’s no sunlight, no sunlight.”
Not necessarily dark, some might take the easy route by calling them “emo,” though that would be an oversimplification. “Narrow Stairs” does not exactly reflect a Christian worldview toward relationships, rather it’s morally neutral. The lyrics reflect deep thought on the part of Gibbard, the main songwriter. Gibbard uses unique imagery for relationships, escaping the clichéd sappy love song route.
Death Cab’s self-proclaimed “indie” style is difficult to describe. The music is simple, yet complicated; the songs are depressing, yet happy. In Walla’s words, the new album is characterized as “having teeth.”