Tuesday, June 25, 2013

[CD Review] Plans

Plans by Death Cab for Cutie

Overall Score: 9/10 

Death Cab for Cutie's album Plans does a wonderful job of raising questions and exploring what exactly love is, it takes you on a philosophical journey regarding this powerful and sometimes destructive emotion. Something that a lot of albums can't even come close to doing. 

The opening song "Marching Bands of Manhattan" touches on what it can be like to be in love with someone who is suffering from depression and who has withdrawn, and how the lover can too be consumed by the sadness that the beloved is experiencing. Next on the list comes "Soul Meets Body" a rather up-beat song invoking the imagery of music filling the air and some natural imagery to express the union of love. Then it slides into "Summer Skin" a sad down-tempo song about a summer fling running its natural course, even if one person has a lingering sensation and desire for it to last just a bit longer. 'Different Names' is a curious break from the rest of the CD, a mellow crackling song about traveling by one's self across different countries.

"I Will Follow You Into the Dark" is PROBABLY the most well known and well liked song on the album. The song is frequently played on the radio, and has had a lot of staying power for obvious reasons. The sound itself is very gentle and soft, and the lyrics poignant, discussing what love is, and the potentially eternal nature of it, with the singer promising to follow their lover into 'the dark' (death). He discusses what isn't love (fear, as he learned in 'Catholic School) and acknowledges the inevitability of death ("You and me/Have seen everything to see/From Bangkok to Calgary/And the soles of your shoes/Are all worn down/The time for sleep is now/Its nothing to cry about/Because we'll hold each other soon/in the blackest of rooms) and reassures their lover that s/he will not be alone in death (though, the singer is not implying suicide I believe)

The next song "Your Heart is an Empty Room" is about a listless and lonely man trying to find love but tied down by his obligations and responsibilities. Upon his house burning down he feels a sense of relief, as he finally is opened up to having a chance to love.

"Someday You Will Be Loved" is a rather sad song that I can (and I"m sure most can) relate to on some level. The song discusses the singer leaving behind a girl that was just a good and kind person ("Eyes all beauty and truth") but who he could not love. So, he leaves her. He leaves her a note saying that she doesn't need to feel too bad, because one day she will meet someone who makes him seem like a bad dream, and that her broken heart will someday. The affection the singer has for the jilted lover is true, though he knows it is right and for the best.

"Crooked teeth" is a slightly quirky song discussing regrets about starting a relationship that the singer knew was doomed from the start and that just doesn't quite work.

"What Sarah Said" is another one of the more touching and emotional songs on the album. The sound of the piano at the start reminds me of fingers tapping in succession on a chair (pinky, ring, middle, index) when a person is anxious about something. The song itself is actually the titular song(And it came to an end, that every plan, is a tiny prayer to Father Time), and for good reason. It discusses the truest test that any love can have is watching and waiting and knowing that your partner is dying and that all you can do is watch and by their for them, and not regretting a single second of being with them and though it pains you being there with them for the whole process of their death. It is poignant, and touching, and asks the listener "Whose going to watch you die?" or rather, who loves you so much that they could endure the experience of watching you pass. The song raises some difficult thoughts and feelings in me personally.

By contrast, "Brothers on a Hotel Bed" is a different kind of sad. It speaks of a couple whose passion has faded away due to the constant pressures of life, the monotony and the simple passing of time. How they sleep next to one another, not as lovers, but in the platonic way that two brothers might sleep in the same bed. The singers acknowledges that his age and the changes he has gone through may be the cause of the passion fading, It explores the melancholy of middle-age and struggling to realize that your youth has faded.

"Stable Song" is a slower paced song, which honestly, I had difficulty drawing meaning from.

I have to say that if you don't own this album, you should pick it up and give it a long listen. It is beautiful, touching, and makes you think about what it really  means to love, to hurt, to feel, and to simply just be human.

Music Video for "What Sarah Said" (some parts are 'muffled' unlike in the album) 

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A young man living in North Texas. He is an actor, a Hellenistos, and a proud member of Hellenion.