Death Cab For Cutie almost settled for lackluster on “The Sound Of Settling”

Death Cab For Cutie almost settled for lackluster on “The Sound Of Settling”

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing

I’m always fascinated by an artist’s process. How, for example, does a sketch become a set, and how does a bit of a tune turn into a whole opera? That thirst for genesis is one of the reasons I like the new digital-only collection of Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism demos. (The other is that I like both Death Cab and this record.) It’s endlessly fascinating to see how bare bones thoughts and four-track melodies became songs I’ve listened to hundreds of times. While some songs—“The New Year” and “Title And Registration,” for instance—translate fairly seamlessly into the final project, others, like “The Sound Of Settling,” turned into whole new products when fleshed out. On the demo for “The Sound Of Settling,” Ben Gibbard sounds detached and sluggish. Fast-forward to the final release, and the song’s a peppy (for Death Cab, anyway) take on the futility of life and love. It’s an interesting transition, and one that I find intriguing, especially since the final version of the track is one of my all-time favorites.

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