Death Cab's Plans

I once read an article that, against convention, lamented the fact that artist in the music business often insist on being both singers and songwriters to feel legitimate. That article cited Rufus Wainwright as an example of someone who'd better have stuck to writing songs for other, and I disagreed with that because I happen to think that Rufus Wainwright's nasal, slightly whiny voice is perfect for his songs.

I'm kind of unsure about Ben Gibbard though. I mean, the guy can write, that's for sure. From the new album Plans, from the song "Soul meets Body" come the lines:

cause in my head there's a Greyhound station
where I set my thoughts to far off destinations
so they may have a chance of finding a place
where they're far more suited than here
It ranks up there with the first lines of "Title and Registration" from 2003's Transatlanticism

The problem is that his voice gets on my nerves after a while. I can't put my finger exactly on what it is that annoys me after a while, but I can't listen to any Death Cab album more than twice in quick succession.

It does vary by song. On Plans, "Different names for the same thing" is most grating to me, but I can listen to "I will follow you into the dark" -in my opinion the most beautiful song on the album- for hours without a problem.

Oh well. If you don't mind Ben Gibbard's voice, Plans is definitely recommended, it's vintage Death Cab with great lyrics and great arrangements, and some heartbreaking songs. And well, even if, like me, you sometimes wonder what the music could be like if a better singer could try his or her hand at it.

Then again...you never know if music can have quite the same emotional punch if it's sung by someone who doesn't understand exactly what gave birth to it.
Amongst the vending machines
And year old magazines
In a place where we only say goodbye
It stung like a violent wind
That our memories depend
On a faulty camera in our minds
And I knew that you were a truth
I would rather lose

than to have never lain beside at all


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