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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Can your heart take this? Are you ready? Plans marks Death Cab for Cutie's major label debut. 11-tracks of pure indie pop that will further prove that Ben Gibbard and crew just can't do wrong. Atlantic. 2005.

When an indie-rock band as intimately and fiercely loved as Death Cab for Cutie makes the inevitable major-label jump, it often telegraphs a painful death. Witness Husker Du, the Replacements, Nirvana--hell, even R.E.M. After a successful four-album run on tiny Seattle imprint Barsuk, however, Death Cab for Cutie just might buck the trend on its Atlantic premiere. Yes, you can grumble about the production (a little too slick), the proportion of ballads (a little too many) and the overall feeling of restraint (a little too much), but ultimately the album delivers everything the group does best in emotional, experimental songs such as "What Sarah Said" and "I Will Follow You into the Dark," which both blend stark lyrical details with acoustic guitars and soft-focus electronics. In "Soul Meets Body," meanwhile, songwriter Ben Gibbard has come up with the kind of blissful, beatific pop song that's capable of disarming even the harshest skeptic. "A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere," he sings. --Aidin Vaziri

Catching up with Death Cab for Cutie

Something About Airplanes

We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes

Forbidden Love [EP]

The Photo Album

You Can Play These Songs with Chords


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 30, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (366 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Seigler on January 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Normally I try to avoid the hype machine that surrounds a band referenced or namechecked on "The OC" or some other blisteringly popular and annoying teen show. But something about the first single off Death Cab for Cutie's album "Plans" spoke to me in a way that nothing on the radio has in quite a while. So I picked up the album (keeping in mind that they were supposedly "Seth Cohen's favorite band" and not hold it against them). I can say I was pleasantly surprised.

I'm not going to pretend that I know the history of DCFC or their indie-rock roots. This is their major-label debut, and it's pleasantly against what you'd normally expect from a legendary cult band trying to achieve pop immortality on their very first major record. The album starts quietly, and ends quietly. In between, there are a lot of quiet songs.

A snoozefest, right? Not so.

The best tracks, besides "Soul Meets Body" are Summer Skin, I Will Follow You Into The Dark (an aching acoustic ballad that makes the listener weep), Crooked Teeth, What Sarah Said...really, the entire album lives up to the heady expectations that some will bring to it. It's not for everyone per se, but it has certainly had an effect on me.

Again, I'm new to the whole DCFC mythology and mythios. But I know great music when I hear it, and you can't do much better than "Plans". Nevermind the hype, this is the real deal.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Eddie Konczal on November 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Every talented, original, innovative band that achieves success over a number of years inevitably reaches the point where a significant part of its fan base accuses the band of "selling out." This usually occurs when one or more of the following happens:

-the band receives major label backing
-the band gets a new producer and/or access to state-of the art production facilities
-the band members make a great leap forward in terms of musicianship and/or songwriting
-the band achieves commercial success and/or critical acclaim

For Death Cab for Cutie, all of the above occurred with "Plans." Studio gloss has sanded off Death Cab's rough edges, their songs have become tighter and more ambitious, and they have achieved nearly household name status. So naturally, their diehard fans who stuck with them through the lo-fi indie years have accused them of selling out.

While some call it "selling out," I call it "getting better." I have heard, and quite like, Death Cab's earlier work, particularly "We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes" and "Transatlanticism." "Plans" does for Death Cab what "OK Computer" did for Radiohead: it marks their great leap from rock's best-kept secret to a band that's finally achieving the success they deserve through hard work and persistent innovation.

I began listening to "Plans" at the same time I was studying Baroque music at Rutgers. I was quite astonished at how classically constructed Death Cab's songs are. I won't elevate Ben Gibbard and company to Bach's level just yet, but many of their songs - particularly "Marching Bands of Manhattan" and "What Sarah Said" - exhibit the "motoric rhythm" found in Bach's concertos.
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167 of 196 people found the following review helpful By Matt Stephens on August 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
If you liked "Give Up" then buy this album immediately. If you think the move towards a more produced sound is going to piss you off, give you more major label woes, you might want to look elsewhere. I don't know, pick up an old Neutral Milk Hotel album and gripe about how everyone is selling out. Me, though, I think this is their best album in a few years. They didn't lose any edge when they jumped onto the label, they just got a better studio for Chris Walla to work his magic. My recommendation? Buy the album. Then again, I just like music, and if I can hear it better, more crisp, more produced, and hence, a better listen? All the better. As long as Atlantic doesn't try to change the whole thing Death Cab has going for them in their sound, then they're still one of the best groups around.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on February 4, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Plans is probably the first time in a very long time that a band has been able to pull off another consistent, fine album after hopping to a mainstream label. We should all be thanking somebody for getting it right.

Two Things:

First -- Since the favorite topic of review here seems to be 'Plans vs. Transatlanticism', I will only say this, DCFC has done the right thing by writing an album that doesn't even attempt to follow in its footsteps -- and although it would have been nice to hear a little more heavier guitar work, its absence on this album is more fitting than audacious. I'm rather suprised that Atlantic didn't persuade these guys to delve deeper into the same pattern that eventually resulted in Trans., and it has definately worked out for the better.

Second -- "Sold Out" is clearly missing from DCFC's vocabulary. Not too long ago, all of us were [mostly] sickened and disheartened to see that they gained a little more attention from The OC...I can now say (being that it's been a considerable amount of time since they've made that appearance), that it didn't damage nor catapult their career. What's most appreciative is that they're also not riding on that mainstream exposure to the bank. All in all, DCFC is doing a pretty good job flying under the radar despite network TV references and album plugs.

So alright, with all that said, 'Plans' is both impressive and lacklustre, but there is a considerable balance between the two, and that is where we find the album to be more promising than deteriorating.

'Marching Bands of Manhattan', 'Soul Meets Body', 'Summer Skin', 'Different Names For The Same Thing', 'Brothers On A Hotel Bed' and 'Your Heart Is An Empty Room' embody a good chunk of what makes 'Plans' above average. If anything, I'm sure old and new fans alike will find something worth hearing.
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Topic From this Discussion
Death Cab for Newbies?
My list could go on and on..but here are my top favorites of both bands. :) Hope it helps!
Death Cab For Cutie:
What Sarah Said
Crooked Teeth
A Lack of Color
Your Heart is an Empty Room
Soul Meets Body
I Will Follow You into the Dark

Postal Service:
Sleeping In
Such Great Heights

EDIT: Man! I... Read More
Jul 2, 2009 by Jessica Jarvi Bergman |  See all 2 posts
Who is your favourites band all the time Be the first to reply
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