The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Death Cab has a deficient view of love

Death Cab for Cutie is one of my favorite bands. I must admit that their newest album, Narrow Stairs, was a bit of a let down. That is to be expected after their magnum opus Plans. What really got me ticked at Death Cab was the finally track on the album, "The Ice is Getting Thinner." It's actually a pretty neat song, in and of itself. The problem I had was that it was almost the exact same song as "Summer Skin" on the previous record. They employ the same metaphor (the change of seasons) to describe how two people fell out of love. The change of season is different (summer->fall v. winter->spring), but that is about it. The song "Tiny Vessels" has almost the same thing - "dark grey clouds" move in after two weeks of California sun (summer->fall again). I am breathlessly anticipating the same song on their next two albums: "The leaves fell off the tree" and "The blossoms have wilted." Soon I realized that the unoriginality of it was not the main problem. It's Death Cab's conception of love. To them, love is just an accident. It is a fickle emotion, as ephemeral as a freckle. Observe:

But there’s no blame for how our love did surely fade, and now that it's gone, it's like it wasn't there at all. We left our love in our summer skin. There was little we could say, and even less we could do, to stop the ice from getting thinner under me and you.

Oops, we fell out of love. Oh well. "I will possess your heart" has its own problems. Even their treatment of a long relationship is colored by this cynicism (from "Brothers on a Hotel Bead"):

You may tire of me as our December sun is setting because I'm not who I used to be . . . cause now we say goodnight from our own separate sides like brothers on a hotel bed.

I love the music, I love the lyrics, I love the presentation. But I hate Death Cab's view of love. It is, of course, quite opposite from the type of love about which Jesus and the apostles taught.