11 'Plans' Lyrics That Prove Death Cab For Cutie Was Singing Directly To Your Teenage Emo Soul
On Aug. 30, 2005, Washington indie rock band Death Cab For Cutie released their fifth studio album. It had only been two years since their last album, Transatlanticism, hit shelves, catapulting the group to mainstream success with such memorable tracks as "The Sound Of Settling," "Title And Registration," and the title tune. Three songs from the album were even featured on popular teen drama The O.C. , as the band was a personal favorite of everyone's fictional mid-'00s crush Seth Cohen. But it was Plans, released 10 years ago this Sunday, that cemented Death Cab as the go-to band for self-professed "emo" kids across the United States.
Plans came out just before I started 12th grade; it subsequently became the ever-present soundtrack of my senior year, blasting through car stereos, headphones, and boomboxes in friends' basements. If you, like me, were a teenager in 2005, chances are good that you're at least passingly familiar with the album that practically became the manifesto for emo-hood. You weren't one of the "interesting," "sensitive" kids if you couldn't quote every line of "Soul Meets Body" or sing along to "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" in your sleep.
Here are 11 lyrics, one from each Plans track, that probably made your emo-self cry alone in your car at least once:
1. Sorrow Drips Into Your Heart Through A Pinhole / Just Like A Faucet That Leaks And There Is Comfort In The Sound / But While You Debate Half-Empty Or Half-Full / It Slowly Rises, Your Love Is Gonna Drown
The best thing about Death Cab's lyrics is how, without music, they often read like poetry. This line from the album's opening song, "Marching Bands Of Manhattan," is a perfect example of that.
2. 'Cause In My Head There's A Greyhound Station / Where I Send My Thoughts To Far-Off Destinations / So They May Have A Chance Of Finding A Place / Where They're Far More Suited Than Here
"Only Death Cab understands me!" That's often how it felt when you were 16 and your thoughts were just too deep, man. Even if your teachers or parents or fellow students didn't "get" you, you didn't care because you lived in that special place where "Soul Meets Body."
3. On The Night You Left I Came Over / And We Peeled The Freckles From Our Shoulders / Our Brand New Coats Were So Flushed And Pink / And I Knew Your Heart I Couldn't Win
There was just something about the image of peeling off your "Summer Skin" that was both awesomely vivid and awesomely gross at the same time. The perfect tune to wrap up your summer and head back to school with.
4. The Coast Disappeared When The Sea Drowned The Sun / And I Knew No Words To Share With Anyone / The Boundaries Of Language I Quietly Cursed / And All The Different Names For The Same Thing
"Different Names For The Same Thing" is one of the longest tracks on the album but probably has the fewest lyrics, as well over half of it is instrumental. Your teenage self wasn't sure if this was a metaphor for the aforementioned "boundaries of language" or just plain laziness. Either way, this is probably the track you skipped most often.
5. Love Of Mine, Someday You Will Die / But I'll Be Close Behind / I'll Follow You Into The Dark
The emo anthem to end all emo anthems. Death Cab was the first concert I ever attended, and I'll always remember how, when they ended the night with "I Will Follow You Into The Dark," everyone broke out their lighters (or their RAZR phones) and sang along like we were all sitting around a campfire. Meanwhile, everyone else in the world probably looked at us funny for being so obsessed with such a macabre song.
6. The Flames And Smoke Climbed Out Of Every Window / And Disappeared With Everything That You Held Dear / And You Shed Not A Single Tear For The Things That You Didn't Need / 'Cause You Knew You Were Finally Free
F*ck yeah, nihilism! Or, wait, is it asceticism? You knew that "Your Heart Is An Empty Room" probably had something to do with one of those cool-sounding -isms you'd heard about, even if you didn't quite know which one, exactly.
7. I Cannot Pretend That I Felt Any Regret / 'Cause Each Broken Heart Will Eventually Mend / As The Blood Runs Red Down The Needle And Thread
"Someday You Will Be Loved" — aka, the perfect song to put on an endless loop after your high school sweetheart dumped you at the Homecoming dance.
8. 'Cause At Night The Sun In Retreat / Made The Skyline Look Like Crooked Teeth / In The Mouth Of A Man Who Was Devouring Us Both
There are tons of evocative lyrics in "Crooked Teeth," my personal favorite song from Plans: the willow tree whose tears didn't care, they just hung in the air; the state line that felt like the Berlin Wall; the home in my heart with rotten wood; the treacherous streets and kids strung out on homemade speed. But this image, of a skyline turned into the gaping maw of a hungry giant by the sunset, is always the one that stuck with me the most.
9. It Stung Like A Violent Wind That Our Memories Depend On A Faulty Camera In Our Minds / But I Knew That You Were A Truth I Would Rather Lose Than To Have Never Lain Beside At All
Even if you hadn't yet encountered death at your tender young age, you probably still indulged in the occasional sad stroll through the park with the cold wind riffling through your hair, listening to "What Sarah Said" and contemplating sentiments like, "Love is watching someone die."
10. On The Back Of A Motorbike / With Your Arms Outstretched Trying To Take Flight / Leaving Everything Behind / But Even At Our Swiftest Speed We Couldn't Break From The Concrete / In The City Where We Still Reside
It may have taken you a few listens to understand that this song wasn't about incest. But once it clicked, "Brothers On A Hotel Bed" became a mournful elegy for feeling trapped in your small town suburban life. You just wanted to fly, dammit!
11. Getting The Air Inside My Lungs Is Heavenly / Starting Out With Nothing But Crippling Doubt / We'll Rest Easy, Justified
Ah, yes. The kind of crippling doubt that can only come from the college application process. You're literally deciding your entire future. But amidst all the uncertainty coming your way, "Stable Song" was a calming lullaby to end the album on, one that reminded you to keep breathing no matter what. "With age it just gets much worse," lead singer Ben Gibbard warned. But as the final words of Plans say: "I don't mind."
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