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Transatlanticism

4.3 out of 5 stars 305 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 7, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

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With songs equal to those on We Have the Facts and a lush, brilliant production that continues what The Photo Album started, Transatlanticism is easily Death Cab's best record to date. Much attention has duly been focused on doe-eyed singer/lyricist Ben Gibbard, co-star of the Postal Service phenomenon, and Ben's voice is as strange, beautiful, and as strong as ever on these songs, which deal with the difficulties of long-distance relationships. But guitarist/producer Chris Walla once again proves himself to be the band's secret weapon, layering subtle sonic touches throughout Transatlanticism, which is most definitely a "headphone record." This Seattle quartet is one of the only bands to really have picked up the intelligent, emotionally resonant, and guitar-driven indie-pop torch that Built to Spill briefly lit in the mid-1990s (before themselves heading off to the stoner-rock territory). DCFC themselves seem poised to finally break out to a wider audience, and they truly deserve it with this disc. --Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 7, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Barsuk
  • ASIN: B0000D1FDI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,560 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"I'm waiting for another repeat; Another diet fed by crippling defeat."
"Death Cab for Cutie", a band whose music is as unforgettable as its name, has truely hit the mark with this album. And while it may be somewhat of a repeat in style; its a sound far from being defeated, or drowned out.
That lyric, in the song 'Expo 86', shoots out of Ben Gibbards mouth with nothing but conviction and emotion, on Death Cabs newest and extraordinary record "Transatlanticism".
This record is wonderful, and should please fans of the band, and attract newcomers also. At times its honest, melodic, loud, soft, Sad, surreal, emotional....and sometimes all in the same song.
The songs range from confessionals: "Tiny Vessels"(confessions of a bad relationship)"Title and Registration"(A picture in a glove compartment brings back memories of regret); to character studies: "Death of an Interior Decorator"; and songs about ageing, the passing of time, and memories: "The New Year", "The Sound of Settling", "We Looked Like Giants".
This album seems to be a story about growing up, and about looking back at everything behind, and wondering about everything in front. Its a blissful masterwork by one of the best bands making music these days. Its truely a gem.
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Format: Audio CD
As a die-hard DCfC fan, I've heard all their albums and this one, to me, seems the most coherent and complete. The themes run through each song seamlessly and, despite my heseitation at making a comparison, I consider this their best work yet.
Here are the tracks:
1. The New Year
2. Lightness
3. Title and Registration
4. Expo '86
5. The Sound of Settling
6. Tiny Vessels
7. Transatlanticism
8. Passenger Seat
9. Death of an Interior Decorator
10. We Looked Like Giants
11. A Lack of Color
Now, this will come as a surprise to those of you who know me well, but while the lyrics are amazing, what first caught my ear with this album is the elegance of the sounds. It both starts and ends with what sounds like the noise a computer makes when it's running (the hum), giving it a sense of unity. I think that someone listening to a vocal-stripped version of this album could still tell it's DCfC, but there's a sense of greater freedom and distance from We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes or The Photo Album. When I listen to "The New Year," I get a sense of opening up, where much of We Have the Facts . . . appears closed-off. As suggested in "The Sound of Settling" (track 5), this album proclaims "if you've got an impulse, let it out," clearly and with joy.
On to individual songs. My favorites are "The New Year" (track 1), "Transatlanticism" (track 7), and "A Lack of Color" (track 11). "The New Year" and "Transatlanticism" present two different but convergent views of distance. "The New Year" suggests a solely physical difference, claiming if "the world was flat like the old days . . .
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Format: Audio CD
As always, let's just get a few things out of the way.
If you're a die-hard DCfC fan, stop reading, you will buy the album regardless of anything I (or anyone else, for that matter) has to say about it.
If you're an overblown emokid with a yen for the melodramatic, you should buy this CD. You may now stop reading.
If you're a radio lover that is interested in this CD because hey, that guy from the Postal Service is in it and that Such Great Heights song is so good and it was on MTV2 and wow!, stop reading and don't buy the CD. There's a 90% chance you'll hate half the tracks on this album, just like you hated half the tracks on Give Up when you downloaded them all.
If you're like me and you're vaguely familiar with DCfC's previous work and you liked what you heard, by the album - it's quite good and although it's differently shaped than, say, The Photo Album, it's still an album that feels death cab from start to finish in both ben's lyrics and the instrumentation.
If you've never heard DCfC before, be warned: they're what the media monster has labeled as "emo" (which groups them unfairly with groups like Dashboard Confessional) because their lyrics have a personal draw toward experiences as opposed to the widely generic feel of most other music today. Transatlanticism in particular deals with relationships (and, as the name suggests, long distance relationships), and if you have (and of course you have!) experienced a relationship that ended, you'll find at least one line that calls out to you and says "Hey, I wrote lyrics for all the stuff you're feeling inside, and then I put chords to those lyrics that accentuate that feeling." Buy the CD.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the first Death Cab For Cutie album I have ever bought, and I must say its everything I wanted it to be and then some. For those of you who are just browsing this review and don't know much about the band, I urge you to check them out. This album is relaxing and poetic, brilliant and easy to the ear. I would have to say the standouts are:

The New Year-Opens the Album Perfectly, I could swear I had heard this song somewhere before I bought the album.

Title and Registration- Great Lyrics and I must say a great title to the song, will have you thinking.

Expo '86-One of the smoothest songs on the album, it has a great beat.

The Sound Of Settling- It's the only song I knew before I bought the album, it's short but very catchy, I love it.

Tiny Vessels-Lyrics I think a lot of people can relate to, just put together nicely.

Tranatlantism-This is in my opinion the best song on the album, a huge buildup with some great lyrics. I think its simply incredible.

A Lack of Color-Great acoustic to end the album, this song is beautiful.

As you can see I think that there are many standouts, I love the whole album even if every song doesn't stand out to me. If you enjoy bands like The Shins or Modest Mouse, I think you will dig Death Cab For Cutie.

For an album that is perfect for all types of places, moods, and people, I award with five stars.
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