Sunday, June 12, 2011

40 Songs, 40 Days (2011 Edition), Day Thirteen: Someday You Will Be Loved by Death Cab For Cutie

And for tonight's entry...emo as grand guignol theater, the light version.

Don't get me wrong, though--this is not exactly meant as a slam. I've liked Death Cab For Cutie ever since I heard 'Soul Meets Body' on one of my co-worker's iPods (there was a comical few weeks when I would hear the song and ask him 'who is this band?', to which he'd roll his eyes and remind me he had already told me). What appeals to me is not just the band's sound, which conceals echoes of shoegaze and dream pop in its arrangements, but the fact that they--like their bigger brother, The Decemberists--know the power of telling tales. Ben Gibbard doesn't just paint a picture with his music; he spins these grand gothic tableaus of loss and sadness, tragedy and disaster. Yes, on some level I know I'm too old to be affected by this sort of neo-romantic tatt...but on another level I hope I never outgrow the capacity to appreciate the melodramatic charms of this band.

This is a pretty hopeful song even though it is, at its core, a story about a man fleeing in the face of romance. Yes, Gibbard runs and deserts his lover in the middle of night (presumably to run to Zoe Deschanel...sigh)...but he leaves a note that tells her that the thought of him will fade away, and in their place will be new memories of the man she's going to find, the man to whom her heart belongs to now even though she hasn't met him yet. It's a bittersweet message, made all the more bittersweet given the arrangement that sounds both modern and yet also of another, older time...

And for the record, I don't resent Ben Gibbard for going home to Zoe Deschanel every night. Really, I don't.

Here's the cool stop-motion video for the song. Later videos from the band are more in keeping with the 'here's the band, and here they are performing' aesthetics, but I find this sort of unsteady, wonky method of getting their songs across more appropriate...

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