It takes me about an hour to get to work, if the traffic is right. That gives me about enough time to listen to a full album on Spotify Premium, and it’s an easy drive so I don’t mind. It might not seem normal for most people, commuting so much distance over so much time, but it’s normal for me. This, coming from the guy who spent a year living in a dorm room in college, and the two years following sleeping on couches. Being confined to small spaces, and spending so much time in solitude, wasn’t exactly the way I drew it up. But it’s nonetheless what I’ve become accustomed to.
The last week or so I’ve found myself working my way backwards on Death Cab For Cutie’s catalog. I’ve written before on here — not too far back, I don’t think — about how I can only listen to them on occasion… maybe once or twice a year. Well lately I’ve broken that, playing their last two albums, Kintsugi (2015) and Codes and Keys (2011) almost exclusively.
A couple days ago, I went back to Narrow Stairs (2008), one of the many collections I must’ve listened to 50 times during the longest summer of my life in 2009. Unlike Death Cab’s two most recent albums, Narrow Stairs adds the element of nostalgia, which is really the only reason I began listening again in the first place. This band takes me back, maybe more vividly than any other, to the most specific moments of my life.
Plans (2005) defined my summer of love in 2008, so that holds a special place with me, as does Transatlanticism (2003). I haven’t gone to those two albums quite yet, as the further back I take this experiment the stronger the memories. I’m a glutton for self-abuse, but I assume it’s still healthy in doses this small. In my last post I wrote about reliving the past as a means to keep it real. To give validation to what’s vacant in my present reality. Death Cab For Cutie doesn’t define me in any way, nor are their lyrics special to my specific life story. Everyone has to be in love at one point or another, or many points, and so everything of that wrinkle in time (or times), whether it’s music or film or anything else, intangibly carries more value to it.