By T.J. Grant, Staff Writer
The beginning of Death Cab for Cutie’s latest single, “Here to Forever,” feels like walking into the middle of a very morbid conversation. While lead singer and guitarist Ben Gibbard has a point about everyone in ‘50s movies being dead now, the opening lyric comes across as jaded and kind of obvious. The feeling lingers until context arises in the chorus, and darkness turns contemplative and even hopeful.
THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND “HERE TO FOREVER”
“It’s a song both about our impermanence and the anxiety of these times,” says Gibbard of the single. “It’s also about wanting to believe in something bigger even when it feels like nothing is out there.”
A CONTRASTING MUSIC VIDEO
Death Cab for Cutie released “Here to Forever” a few weeks ago along with a music video directed by Lance Bangs. Previously, Bangs has worked with artists like Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and Kanye West.
The video does a great job at taking the edge and the weight off of the song’s subject matter. It begins with Gibbard visiting the building where his band’s records are being pressed and asking when they’ll be finished. He’s told seven months unless he wishes to help the two distracted and goofy workers.
Gibbard then starts doing their job for them but eventually surrenders to their fun. He joins them in doing donuts with the factory forklift piled high with boxes of the new Death Cab for Cutie record, Asphalt Meadows. As boxes of the new records fly around the warehouse, expectations and pressure dissolve. The imagery makes the intense message of the song a little more fun.
HINTS OF NIHILISM IN THE CHORUS
“I want to know the measure from here to forever” frames Death Cab’s quest for answers amidst uncertain times. But the follow-up lyric, “I want to feel the pressure of God or whatever,” finds resolution and comfortability in the unknown.
The chorus of “Ballad of Big Nothing” from Elliot Smith comes to mind. While there could be a chance we’re all void of a greater meaning in life, the freedom in that line of thinking is limitless.
A MAJOR MILESTONE FOR DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
Asphalt Meadows marks the band’s tenth studio album, and their first release since 2018’s Thank You for Today. And while they’re excited to show it to the world, they’re staying humble.
In March of 2021, Ben Gibbard told NME, “I’m sure a lot of musicians say that their new material is the best thing they’ve ever done and try to hype it up. I don’t want to give it that weight, but I can say that I’m really excited about it. I think it’s going to be a really good record.”
Grammy Award-winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Wallows) produced Asphalt Meadows. It will be out on September 16th via Atlantic.
Death Cab for Cutie has already begun to tour, with their shows featuring special guests Yo La Tengo, illuminati hotties, and Low. Locally, they’ll be joined alongside Low at the Leader Band Pavilion on October 1st.
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