Top positive review
One person found this helpful
on November 29, 2012
I started listening to Ben Gibbard about a year ago when I discovered The Postal Service, which I loved. After a while I started listening to Death Cab for Cutie, and that's now my very favorite band. I think Ben Gibbard is a very talented person, and this solo record proves that. All in all, it was a well-executed album with a wide range of musical styles that most people, especially fans of The Postal Service and Death Cab, will enjoy listening to.
Shepherd's Bush Lullaby: (5.75/10) I really wanted to like this one, but it was just so strange I couldn't take it seriously. It wasn't really bad, but it was just so weird with its "bum-bum-bum" thing going on in the background and its extreme briefness that I didn't like it all that much. But it's still worth a listen, and I like it, but I don't LOVE it.
Dream Song: (8.5/10) This song perfectly illustrates the creepy feeling of dreams. Musically, it reminded me a lot of "Different Names For The Same Thing" of the DCFC album Plans. The best part of the song is the out-of-sync piano/keyboard solo during the instrumental part. It adds to the creepy-but-happy feel of the song.
Teardrop Windows: (8.5/10) This song is a more acoustic track that is one of the least Death Cab-like songs on the album. The lyrics are pretty downer, but you wouldn't know because the upbeat guitar and vocal style give this song a more cheerful feel. I've heard this song is about the Smith Tower in Seattle ("in 1962/ the Needle made its big debut" possibly referring to the Space Needle and "when the sun sets over the Sound he just goes to sleep" possibly referring to the Puget Sound) but I don't know for sure. This is one of the best tracks on the album, but gets old after a while.
Bigger Than Love: (9.25/10) This could very well be the best song on the album-- just about neck-and-neck with "Something's Rattling (Cowpoke)". Aimee Mann makes an appearance on this duet track. Her voice clashed a bit with Ben's, and I feel like they should have gotten a different singer to sing with him (maybe the girl from "Nothing Better"?), and I would've given this song a 10 out of 10 if they had. The electric guitar and lo-fi sounds give this song a very Death Cab for Cutie feel, and won't disappoint fans of The Postal Service, either.
Lily: (8.75/10) This one is very sweet, and a great song. It's not at all Death Cab for Cutie or The Postal Service, but it fits Ben very nicely. It's very simple, musically, and one of Ben's happier songs. The only thing I didn't like about it was how short it was. It could have used an extra verse, because right when you go from liking the song to loving it, it ends. If it was maybe thirty seconds longer, it could have been 10 out of 10.
Something's Rattling (Cowpoke): (9.5/10) Like "Bigger Than Love", this could be the best song on the album. I liked the subtle use of mariachi trumpets and soft "ooh-ooh-ooh"s in this track. It had a very outer-space theme, and made me think of a cute kids' picture book about space or the moon or something like that. This is a great song, with great instrumental background sounds, and beautiful vocalizations by Ben.
Duncan, Where Have You Gone?: (5.25/10) It's okay, this one is my very least favorite track on the album. It sounded like it could be on some sad Charlie Brown show where Charlie Brown is sad about something and walking home in the rain or something like that. It's a bit cheesy. I did like the guitar solos and lo-fi quality, though.
Oh, Woe: (6.5/10) Like "Teardrop Windows", this is a sad song hidden behind happy and upbeat instrumentals. This song didn't stand out much to me, but it's still worth a listen. I think the words would have worked much better paired with less happy and upbeat instrumentals. It follows in the footsteps of Death Cab's more recent stuff (like Codes And Keys), but isn't quite there.
A Hard One To Know: (8/10) This is one of the album's stronger tracks, and tells the story of a wishy-washy girlfriend. It's the indie non-teenybopper version of Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" (Not that I'm comparing Ben to Katy Perry, I'm not, just the lyrics of their songs). The Care Bears-like keyboard solo and the way Ben sings " Cause you're a ha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ard one to know" are some of the highlights of this song.
Lady Adelaide: (8/10) A very sweet, tropical song. The xylophone/mallet solo, shakers/maracas, and the claves (just guessing on the instruments they used here...) give it a very tropical feel. It's hard to believe that this is Ben, because this is so so so different than Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service, but it's a very solid song.
Broken Yolk In Western Sky: (8/10) The book "The Red Pony" is brought to mind when I listen to this song. It's a good song, and very different from the other tracks on the album with its steel guitar and country feel, and is very satisfying, if a little cheesy.
I'm Building A Fire: (9/10) This is one of the better tracks on the album, and made me think of "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" off Plans. It's a very good closer for the album, and I can imagine this song being sung around a campfire (hence the name "I'm Building A Fire"...). It's pretty sad, and if you're the type to cry during songs, you'll probably cry hearing this one.
Overall, I liked this album. The variety on this album is just so wide that it's hard to put it into a genre, and I can't imagine anyone singing these songs but Ben Gibbard. If Ben comes out with a second solo record, I'll probably get that one too.