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Death Cab For Cutie|Asphalt Meadows

Asphalt Meadows

Death Cab For Cutie

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Ten albums and 15 years into their career, Death Cab for Cutie are as musically muscular as an arena-ready band. It's there on the title track of Asphalt Meadows, which sounds at times like New Order and sports a bit of Johnny Marr-esque guitar. "I'll Never Give Up On You" is almost menacing in its powerfully brooding instrumentation. "I Don't Know How I Survive" wraps in a surprisingly funky snaking guitar line, with frontman Ben Gibbard dragging out the word "listen" until it trails off like vapor; it all cracks open in a knockdown tsunami of sound at the chorus, and a blinding wash of guitar. You can hear—and feel—the muscularity on "Roman Candles," with rapid-fire drums and guitars that streak by like the firework it's named for. Gibbard has said it was written to reflect "a general sense of anxiety [as] the feeling that the fabric that weaves a functioning society together was crumbling during the pandemic." Indeed, that's a theme that pervades, as Death Cab becomes the latest act to file their "pandemic record" for posterity. Gibbard's plain-spoken poetry is particularly suited for the job. "It's been a battle just to wake and greet the day/ Then they all disappear like sugar in my coffee/ A hint of sweetness/ But the bitterness remains/ The acidity devouring my body," he sings on "Roman Candles." The edgy "I Miss Strangers'' probes at the lockdown conundrum of craving the public connection we all previously took for granted: "These days I miss strangers/ More than I/ More than I miss my friends." The Marr-like guitars return, like the sun forcing its way through the clouds, for  jubilant-sounding "Here to Forever," as Gibbard sings, "These days it's so hard to relax/ You've got to hold a gun to my back/ To make me smile." As always, there are captivating short stories packed into songs. "Wheat Like Waves"—with warm keys like a buttery salve—tells of catching up with an old friend: combining fine detail ("Prefab Sprout echoing out/ Of your '90s Accord/ With mismatched doors"), intriguing similes ("Your tattoos like the stamps on your passport") and universal ideas, this time about how fast time evaporates with age: "So little time/ So many miles to drive/ Before the endless sleep eventually arrives." And "Foxglove Through The Clearcut" finds the band in an experimental mode, playing with spoken verses and loose, oceanic guitar for a story about a man who lived by the ocean but feared the water; it ends at full tide, musically cresting and crashing, an overwhelming and maybe dangerous thing of beauty. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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Asphalt Meadows

Death Cab For Cutie

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1
I Don’t Know How I Survive
00:03:40

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

2
Roman Candles
00:02:10

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist - Benjamin Gibbard, Writer - Bob Ludwig, Masterer - Scott Moore, AssistantEngineer - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Jon Roberts, AssistantEngineer

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

3
Asphalt Meadows
00:04:05

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

4
Rand McNally
00:04:06

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

5
Here to Forever
00:03:46

Zac Rae, Writer - Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist - Benjamin Gibbard, Writer - Bob Ludwig, Masterer - Scott Moore, AssistantEngineer - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Jon Roberts, AssistantEngineer

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

6
Foxglove Through The Clearcut
00:05:15

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist - Benjamin Gibbard, Writer - Bob Ludwig, Masterer - Scott Moore, AssistantEngineer - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Jon Roberts, AssistantEngineer

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

7
Pepper
00:02:48

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

8
I Miss Strangers
00:04:24

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

9
Wheat Like Waves
00:03:38

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

10
Fragments From the Decade
00:04:38

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

11
I’ll Never Give Up On You
00:03:31

Death Cab For Cutie, MainArtist

© 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

Album Description

Ten albums and 15 years into their career, Death Cab for Cutie are as musically muscular as an arena-ready band. It's there on the title track of Asphalt Meadows, which sounds at times like New Order and sports a bit of Johnny Marr-esque guitar. "I'll Never Give Up On You" is almost menacing in its powerfully brooding instrumentation. "I Don't Know How I Survive" wraps in a surprisingly funky snaking guitar line, with frontman Ben Gibbard dragging out the word "listen" until it trails off like vapor; it all cracks open in a knockdown tsunami of sound at the chorus, and a blinding wash of guitar. You can hear—and feel—the muscularity on "Roman Candles," with rapid-fire drums and guitars that streak by like the firework it's named for. Gibbard has said it was written to reflect "a general sense of anxiety [as] the feeling that the fabric that weaves a functioning society together was crumbling during the pandemic." Indeed, that's a theme that pervades, as Death Cab becomes the latest act to file their "pandemic record" for posterity. Gibbard's plain-spoken poetry is particularly suited for the job. "It's been a battle just to wake and greet the day/ Then they all disappear like sugar in my coffee/ A hint of sweetness/ But the bitterness remains/ The acidity devouring my body," he sings on "Roman Candles." The edgy "I Miss Strangers'' probes at the lockdown conundrum of craving the public connection we all previously took for granted: "These days I miss strangers/ More than I/ More than I miss my friends." The Marr-like guitars return, like the sun forcing its way through the clouds, for  jubilant-sounding "Here to Forever," as Gibbard sings, "These days it's so hard to relax/ You've got to hold a gun to my back/ To make me smile." As always, there are captivating short stories packed into songs. "Wheat Like Waves"—with warm keys like a buttery salve—tells of catching up with an old friend: combining fine detail ("Prefab Sprout echoing out/ Of your '90s Accord/ With mismatched doors"), intriguing similes ("Your tattoos like the stamps on your passport") and universal ideas, this time about how fast time evaporates with age: "So little time/ So many miles to drive/ Before the endless sleep eventually arrives." And "Foxglove Through The Clearcut" finds the band in an experimental mode, playing with spoken verses and loose, oceanic guitar for a story about a man who lived by the ocean but feared the water; it ends at full tide, musically cresting and crashing, an overwhelming and maybe dangerous thing of beauty. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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