Reviews

Death Cab for Cutie “Asphalt Meadows” Album Review

Asphalt Meadows

Death Cab for Cutie

    • Genre: Alternative
    • Date: 16 Sep, 2022
    • Content: Not-explicit
    • Region: USA
    • Track(s): 11
  • ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

The tenth studio album by Death Cab for Cutie, “Asphalt Meadows,” offers a return to the group’s vintage sound. While the intrinsic romanticism of the Pacific Northwestern indie pioneers is still there throughout the album, the intimacy of the record is frequently emphasized by a dark, uncharted apocalypticism. This explains a portion of the album’s appeal, as its gloomy soundscapes and worn-out lyrics capture the disillusioned tiredness of a population in the middle of a pandemic.

All things considered, “Asphalt Meadows” is without a doubt Death Cab for Cutie’s strongest album in more over ten years and may very well be the band’s most timely offering, the worries of contemporary life stirringly condensed into its 11 excellent tracks. On this LP, the band succeeds in enhancing its distinctive sound and advancing their sonic experimentalism.

Album Cover Art

Death Cab For Cutie &Quot;Asphalt Meadows&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, March 3, 2024

Two men dressed in white, flowing robes are standing side-by-side on an elevated plain that overlooks the vast expanse of the city crawling with different buildings of different sizes and heights. They just casually stand there doing nothing but feed their eyes and maybe chirping about this and that, showing a really relaxed energy that comes with clearing one’s head which appears to be what is happening in this photograph.

Tracks and Features

Ben Gibbard, the band’s front-man, repeatedly says, “These nights / I don’t know how I survive,” in the opening song. The song begins with an unusually tangled, repeating guitar lick before exploding into the choruses. Although the quiet-loud combination is a well-worn one, the band makes the change gracefully. The even more incisive “Roman Candles” follows, a two-minute burst of remarks about attempting to let go of what is holding you back, even when it’s challenging just to wake up in the morning. Nearly every acoustic inch of Asphalt Meadows bears the imprint of this tense interaction with the outside world, other people, and survival in general.

On “Here to Forever,” where Gibbard confronts the self-doubt that can result from significant success, the band becomes even more meta. In the chorus, he says, “I wanna know the measure from here to forever,” thinking about the course of his band and perhaps his entire life. He continues to be a hesitant optimist, despite how tenuous it may seem.

The acoustic song, “Pepper,” cleverly depicts love and the final kiss before death. In the middle of the chaos, Gibbard searches for solutions. The song “Fragments From The Decade” opens softly, with Gibbard singing about a past that was driven by rage. The song is a highlight, and the musical undertone adds a new dimension.

Since the beginning of the band, Gibbard has been known for his distinctive earnestness and willingness to wear his emotions on his sleeve. But it has also overcome him, as can be heard on the regrettable spoken-word song “Foxglove Through the Concrete.” Despite a very lovely instrumental, the lyrics—spoken in his excruciatingly sincere narrative voice—are awkward and cloying. The song, which goes on for more over five minutes, mostly functions as an excessively long palate cleanser or intermission and never defends either its length or its own decisions.

“I’ll Never Give Up on You,” the album’s closing track, is an assertive assurance. Gibbard lists all the various things that have made him disillusioned, including politicians, dilettantes, affectations, and drugs that alter consciousness. He no longer believes in so many things, yet he still has one exception.

Tracklist

NO

TITLE

TIME

1 I Don’t Know How I Survive 3:40
2 Roman Candles 2:10
3 Asphalt Meadows 4:05
4 Rand McNally 4:06
5 Here to Forever 3:46
6 Foxglove Through The Clearcut 5:15
7 Pepper 2:48
8 I Miss Strangers 4:24
9 Wheat Like Waves 3:38
10 Fragments From the Decade 4:38
11 I’ll Never Give Up On You 3:31

Album Theme

Many of the tracks on this album describe days of surprise, even though the music occasionally has a depressing quality. It is a collection of explanations and direct observations.

Production Credits

John Congleton produced the album.

Stream

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