Album Review: Death Cab for Cutie's 'Thank You for Today'

Lindsey Lanham | Editor-in-Chief

Courtesy Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie’s ninth release, “Thank You for Today,” proves to be a refreshing release for the band. It’s complete with moments of alt-pop gems that make the band more reachable than they have been in years.

After the departure of founding member, guitarist and songwriter, Chris Walla, in 2014, the band’s future sound was at stake. Now Death Cab has welcomed songwriter Dave Depper, which has proven to be beneficial to the band as “Thank You for Today” feels more cohesive than their music has in almost a decade.

Aside from Depper, Death Cab is made up of bassist Nick Harmer, guitarist and keyboardist Zac Rae, drummer Jason McGerr and lead singer and songwriter Ben Gibbard. The band originally formed in 1997, and 21 years later are still going strong and remain one of the more notable names in alternative music.

Alt-pop single “Gold Rush” brings out the traditional Death Cab sound. With its catchy hooks and Gibbard’s smooth vocals, the song is complete with reminiscent lyrics that are not reflected with the almost calm guitar and percussion backing.

Other high points include the bold guitar riff and bass line of “Autumn Love,” and Gibbard’s vocals mixed with relatable lyrics makes this song perfect for the transition of summer to fall.

“60 & Punk” has Death Cab stepping a little out of their comfort zone with a piano medley intro and sardonic lyrics like “He's a superhero growing bored with no one to save anymore.” It’s a dismal reflection of what happens to the ones you idolize most. And it’s the perfect closing to an album that tackles all of your worst fears about growing up.

“Northern Lights” features upbeat music and Gibbard’s vocal range more than other tracks. But much like the rest of “Thank You for Today,” the track creates a grim reality of growing up and losing people.

That’s not to say that “Thank You for Today” didn’t have its weak spots. “You Moved Away” remains repetitive and musically stifling, with very little for the listener to interpret. “Your Hurricane” proves to be a boring, cliche ballad as Gibbard helplessly croons “But I won't be the debris in your hurricane.”

Other tracks on the album seem to get lost in the mix. “I Dreamt We Spoke Again” feels a great start until you’re halfway through the album and you realize you’ve forgotten all about it. With disinteresting lyrics and a boring musical act, it’s easy for it to get lost in the other, catchier tracks on the album. “Near/Far” cliche lyrics and Gibbard’s voice is easily lost in the music, and not in a good way.

Overall, Death Cab for Cutie haven’t sounded this confident in their music since their 2008 release, “Narrow Stairs.” Though the band has gone through some trials in an effort to release new music, they should be applauded for their resiliency. Even with it’s bad spots, “Thank You for Today,” high points carry the album as one of their more successful albums to date.