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Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism (2003)

As the year comes to a close, I take the opportunity to recognize our last “Classic Album Tuesday” of 2013. For this distinct honor, I have chosen Death Cab for Cutie’s Transatlanticism to celebrate its tenth anniversary… which happened last October. I spent a good span of the summer listening to this album again, which was brought to a thrilling finale when I saw Death Cab play the entire album live at the last Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle. For that, Transatlanticism will always possess my heart.

The album kicks off with the very appropriate for this post, “The New Year” fueled by powerful chords and a pulsating beat. From there on out the mood shifts back and forth between optimistic indie rock and moody, low-tempo lullabies. The feeling is intimate on somber tracks like “Title and Registration” and “Tiny Vessels”. On the other side of the spectrum there’s “The Sound of Settling”, one of the most joyous and lively cuts in the entire Death Cab discography. All of this is brought to a climactic standstill with the album’s title track. I’ve never been to a show where Death Cab did not play the nearly eight minute powerhouse, “Transatlanticism”. It may not be the album’s finale but it’s certainly not an easy song to follow.

What is Death Cab without its individual members? The hypnotic bass lines of Nick Harmer, the steady rhythm of Jason McGerr, the polished production of Chris Walla and the soaring siren song of Mr. Benjamin Gibbard. There are few bands that I feel as close an emotional connection to and share such a strong a hometown pride with. Hopefully there will be many years of Death Cab to come.

Favorite Tracks: “Expo ’86”, “The New Year”, “The Sound of Settling”

P.S. “Transatlanticism” is a hard word to spell.