I’m terrible with synonyms.

January 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

So I’ve talked movies, television, and some of my life. It’s time we discuss some music. What do ya say?

I’m really into music. It’s such an interesting aspect of life – having the ability to take us immediately back to a single moment or time. Everyone has a song or two or eight that makes us think of a time in our life. Also, at least for me, it has the ability to make us feel things that pictures, movies, or books can’t. Whether it’s instrumental or not, music can alter my mood at any point in the day. You play the first movement of  Bach’s Cello Suite in G, I guarantee you I’ll cry.

There are many many musicians that I admire like Jack White from the White Stripes (and the Raconteurs – and the Dead Weather.) and Dallas Green from City and Colour. My favorite band since I was in high school is Death Cab for Cutie. Their songs are catchy and emotional. But Benjamin Gibbard – the lead singer of the band – is one of the most incredible lyricists I’ve come across. Ben Gibbard also writes and sings for the bands All Time Quarterback and The Postal Service. I’m not too familiar with All Time Quarterback so we’re gonna skip them today.

“Summer Skin”, on Death Cab for Cutie’s album Plans, is one of my favorites. He picks the perfect words to describe the summer season and the carefree love that ends as soon as autumn begins. You can picture every scene that he describes with words that feel like more than simple adjectives:

Squeaky swings and tall grass
The longest shadows ever cast
The water’s warm and children swim
And we frolicked about in our summer skin

I don’t recall a single care
Just greenery and humid air
Then Labor day came and went
And we shed what was left of our summer skin

On the night you left I came over
And we peeled the freckles from our shoulders
Our brand new coats so flushed and pink
And I knew your heart I couldn’t win
Cause the season’s change was a conduit
And we’d left our love in our summer skin

The Postal Service has a song entitled “Nothing Better”. It’s a conversation between a man and woman where the man tries to convince the woman that there could be “nothing better” than spending the rest of their lives together while the woman wants the complete opposite. Again, Ben Gibbard describes every moment so poetically using metaphores and analogies that express his precise feeling. The first stanza is beautifully laid out – the man grieving the loss of his love and begging for her to stay.

“Will someone please call a surgeon
Who can crack my ribs and repair this broken heart
That you’re deserting for better company?
I can’t accept that it’s over…
I will block the door like a goalie tending the net
In the third quarter of a tied-game rivalry”

The last two lines depict perfectly the feeling of absolute desperation for her to stay. Beautiful.

My all time favorite line, is in the song “Brothers on a Hotel Bed”.

“And I have learned, that even landlocked lovers yearn for the sea like navy men.”

The concept of that sentence and words used are just stunning and evoking. Listen to the song – the melody placed with this set of words is delightfully pretty. I highly encourage you to listen to either of these bands. Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans is probably my favorite. I’d be happy to burn it for you :)


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