No, this isn’t a misplaced mourning of the United States Postal Service’s abandonment of Saturday delivery. It’s also not a lament about how The Postal Service — a side project duo composed of Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and Dntel producer Jimmy Tamborello — have never supplied us with a sophomore album despite a fantastic opening act, 2003’s Give Up.
It is instead a personal essay of sorts. A statement of the profound connection I had to the work that Gibbard and Tamborello pieced together via snail mail into a wonderfully emotional and resonating electronic music album. The most recognized single from Give Up, “Such Great Heights,” was named the 27th best song of the 2000s by Rolling Stone and was given a beautiful treatment by Iron & Wine that ended up on the soundtrack to the mega-indie hit movie Garden State in 2004.
I can’t exactly remember when I picked up Give Up from the record store. I think I bought it at a Border’s Books & Music, but the memory is fuzzy. I do remember, though, that I was a college sophomore at the time and I was immediately effected by Gibbard’s tenor croon, Tamborello’s expertly layered and constructed beats. And some of those lyrics. Man they struck a chord.
“Sleeping In” became my anthem for skipping classes during spring semester. “Such Great Heights” said to me that seeing how love fits into the bigger picture can make a relationship even more special. And among the troubled verses that I composed on my own in college, and mixed in with a few Shakespearean sonnets, were these lyrics from “Brand New Colony,” all of which I read aloud at an English department poetry reading.
I’ll be the grapes fermented
Bottled and served with the table set
In my finest suit, like a perfect gentleman
I’ll be the fire escape
That’s bolted to the ancient brick
Where you will sit and contemplate your day
I’ll be the waterwings
That save you if you start drowning
In an open tab when your judgement’s on the brink
I’ll be the phonograph
That plays your favorite albums back
As you’re lying there, drifting off to sleep
I’ll be the platform shoes
And undo what heredity’s done to you
You won’t have to strain to look into my eyes
I’ll be your winter coat
Buttoned and zipped straight to the throat
With the collar up so you won’t catch cold
Oh, and “Nothing Better” gave me a script that I thought every melodramatic breakup I ever experienced would follow. It’s got that dynamite guest appearance from Jen Wood.
I was a real dork, huh? Still am, really. But I listen to good music, so I’m okay with it.
Anyway, the point is that truthfully, I don’t need any new stuff from Gibbard and Tamborello. Which is good, because prevailing information suggests I, nor anyone else, will get that proper second LP. The pair have teamed up for some compilation projects, but never for another full length.
But I don’t need new stuff because Give Up will alway resonate with me. Could be it came along during a formative time in my life. Could be that as a whole work of art it encapsualtes plenty of compelling emotions. Whatever the reason, I’m satiated. Revisit these songs if you have a chance. They’re worth it.
A solid turn from the duo for a less-than-stellar movie. “Against All Odds” from the Wicker Park soundtrack.