The case for Narrow Stairs

August 9, 2008

On my 6 month recap, there was a commenter that said they has been diaapponted by the new Death Cab for Cutie album, Narrow Stairs. Now I have not been a big Death Cab fan and have actually just recently really investigated there past catalog, so I have a different perspective than there long time listeners. That does afford me an interesting opportunity though, where I can make the case for the album to both new and old listeners of the band.

I dare say this is the top Death Cab album, however I doubt many long time fans will agree.  I think the quality of the music is just as good as their previous albums, it is the content and establishment of the songs that works well for me.  Take the first single, I Will Possess Your Heart.  It runs with a 4 minute instrumental intro before getting to the lyrics of a jadded admirer turned stalker.  The 4 minute intro can be read as the normal persuit of a lover, escalating to when the lyrics kick in at which point the person is now a stalker and fully creepy.

Almost more haunting is Grapevine Fires which initially sounds like a family escaping the seasonal fires in California, but on further listens could be the arsonist admiring his work from afar.  The album just aches with common and not so common troubles of the Gen X population living in California.  Does it get a bit drab at times, sure, but this is where the quality of the music really lifts the album up to be really fantastic.  If you have not listened or have given up on the album, I encourage you to take another listen.  You might just find something there that you were not expecting.