Adventures in Guilty Pleasure – In defense of Death Cab

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Defending a hipster band is a dangerous minefield to navigate. In so doing, I run the risk of looking like a member of the most useless and un-sub subculture since, well, ever. Not only that, but one who is ignorant of one of the cardinal tenets of her kind’s unspoken credo: Thou shalt, with scorn and contempt and overpriced coffee drink in hand, harshly dismiss with a wave of thy many-braceleted wrist every band that is pigeonholed as thy belonging.


At this very moment, I have Death Cab for Cutie’s infamous sellout album, PLANS, in my car’s stereo. You can check if you like; I’m parked 40 miles from campus in the free lot. Now, before you get all disgusted, hear me out.

It may surprise you to be reminded that this is a really good album made by a really good band. Or have you forgotten their brilliant early cover of “This Charming Man” by The Smiths? That song was my first exposure to them and I haven’t gone back since. I’m certainly not convinced that PLANS is the best album made by Ben Gibbard et al., but it does possess the same monumentally languorous atmosphere and aching melancholic lucency of every previous and subsequent album.

Is my praise extravagant? Maybe, but so is your disdain.