Thank You for Today

by Death Cab for Cutie

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1.
I dreamt we spoke again It had been so long my mind filled in the blanks I dreamt we spoke again It had been so long your voice was like a ghost in my head Only in a dream Is anything the way it used to be I dreamt we spoke again But when I awoke I could not remember anything you said
2.
04:28
Sometimes I wake at night And watch the rain fall through the street lights As you’re standing still in my mind Fading out, waving goodbye And I wonder where you are tonight And if the one you’re with was a compromise As we’re walking lines in parallel That will never meet and it’s just as well Sometimes I’m overcome By every choice I couldn’t outrun The junctions all disappear You can’t double back to your summer years And I wonder where you are tonight And if the one you’re with was a compromise As we’re walking lines in parallel That will never meet and it’s just as well
3.
They’re digging for gold in my neighborhood Where all the old buildings stood And they keep digging down, down So that their cars can live underground The swinging of a wrecking ball Through these lath and plaster walls Is letting all the shadows free The ones I wished still followed me Change, please don’t change Stay, stay the same I remember a winter’s night When we kissed beneath the street lamp light Outside our bar near the record store That have been condos for a year or more And now that our haunts have taken flight And been replaced with construction sites Oh how I feel like a stranger here Searching for something that’s disappeared They’re digging for gold in my neighborhood For what they say is the greater good But all I see is a long goodbye A requiem for a skyline It seems I never stop losing you As every dive becomes something new And all our ghosts get swept away It didn’t used to be this way Change, please don’t change Stay, stay the same Cranes devour the light Strange appetites I’ve ascribed these monuments A false sense of permanence I’ve placed faith in geography To hold you in my memory I’m sifting through these wreckage piles Through the rubble of bricks and wires Looking for something I’ll never find They’re digging for gold in my neighborhood Where all the old buildings stood And they keep digging down, down So that their cars can live underground It seems I never stop losing you As every dive becomes something new And all our ghosts get swept away It didn’t used to be this way
4.
Heaven is a hole in the sky And the stars are cracks in the ceiling of night And I just keep watching them for a sign That you’ll be alright ‘Cause every time there’s a knock on my door I fall to my hands and knees on the floor ‘Cause when your wreckage washes up on my shore You’re not like before And you try to explain who’s at fault for your mistakes But I won’t be the debris in your hurricane You used to be such a delicate kid A lonely fish in a sea full of squid So I can’t blame you for leaving how you did You just fell off the grid ‘Cause heaven is a hole in the sky And the stars are cracks in the ceiling of night But you can’t be your own alibi As hard as you try It’s a tired refrain you’re singing over and over again As you try to explain who’s at fault for your mistakes But I won’t be the debris in your hurricane
5.
I can’t expect you to be honest Or to be faithful every day ‘til the end I just need you to be always a friend As the sun sets over Dakotas Underneath a crimson ocean of sky Know I’ll always want you by my side When we drive You and I were born in motion Never in one place for too long a time And now it’s the only way we know to survive I like the way that your hair tangles The way your sun tan’s only on one side We always keep the windows open wide When we drive Climb into the back seat and close your eyes I’ve got the wheel And dream of all the places only we will find I can’t expect you to be honest Or to be faithful every day ‘til the end I just need you to be always a friend Until the engine kicks and sputters Until we roll the rubber off the tires Know I’ll always need you by my side When we drive
6.
04:18
No more lighthouses to deceive me Just leave me floating on the open ocean And let the moonlight take me anywhere on a tidal flow And if I capsize it’s alright ‘Cause I’ve been feeling too invincible I need to know depths deeper than the deepest of connections This autumn love is not enough If there’s no beacon tonight to guide me I’ll finally break the shackles of direction And let the headlights lead me anywhere that they wanna go I feel at home now out on a bough In the lattice of the backbone Where the highways are holding in the pieces of our broken hearts This autumn love is not enough
7.
I remember your silhouette on Dyes Inlet Against the silver sheen of a moon like painted glass Under stars out on the pier; a celestial sphere We were weightless as the waves that disappeared Northern lights filled our skies Empty nights synchronized We shared a clove cigarette on the parapet As the T.V.’s glowed from the windows of the model homes And I’d never be that close again to your lips and perfect skin As the tide receded into the unknown Northern lights filled our skies Empty nights synchronized
8.
You sold your records by the pile For they were only yours for a while You placed your furniture in the yard And it was gone within the hour When you moved away All your friends came over and you told them what to take When you moved away Everyone thought it was a mistake You mopped the floors and filled the cracks To get your security deposit back You closed your account at bank You checked your tires and filled the tank When you moved away All your friends got drunk and one by one begged you to stay When you moved away They all felt irrationally betrayed Since you moved away I walk past your vacant apartment almost every day When you moved away You left this town with such an empty space
9.
03:41
You flicker like a fluorescent light An intermittent strobe in a lonely night As I am standing by your side Trying to breach this dark and deep divide You’re here So far away So near So far I hear you talking to yourself Cursing every card you wanted dealt But I can’t help you play your hand If you mistake every word for a command You’re here So far away So near So far away You’re here So far away So near So far You flicker like a fluorescent light An intermittent strobe in a lonely night But I won’t watch you burning out I won’t let you be the one I live without
10.
04:05
There’s nothing funny about you slipping away It’s nothing funny how you’re spending your days But you’re laughing like a kid at a carnival I watched you stumbling around this dusty town I heard your bottle talking way too loud As the Federales tried to hunt you down For something you can’t remember what was about The curtain falls to applause and the band plays you off He’s a superhero growing bored with no one to save anymore I used to watch you on the late night scene The timely rescue of a metal teen 6 strings were strumming rhythm and lead And that hadn’t occurred to me When I met you I was 22 Trying so hard to play it cool But there was so much that I needed to say And nothing came out the right way The curtain falls to applause and the band plays you off He’s a superhero growing bored with no one to save anymore There’s nothing elegant in being a drunk It’s nothing righteous being 60 and a punk But when you’re looking in mirror do you see That kid that you used to be? Broke and working in a record store Daydreaming about the upcoming tour Were you happier when you were poor?

credits

released August 17, 2018

‘Thank You for Today’ is the sound of Death Cab for Cutie both expanding and refining; a band twenty years into its evolution, still uncovering new curves in its signatures, new sonic corners to explore. The Seattle band’s ninth studio album, recorded in Los Angeles with producer Rich Costey in late 2017 and early 2018, stands alongside classic Death Cab for Cutie albums including their 1998 debut ‘Something About Airplanes’ and 2003’s masterful ‘Transatlanticism’ as a definitive collection -- ten tracks that are by turns beautiful and dynamic and darkly anthemic and bittersweet. “I realized early on in the process that I wanted to write a record that is very much who we are,” says singer and guitarist Ben Gibbard. “I wanted to go more inward, and create something more personal.” On songs such as the kinetic “Gold Rush,” “Northern Lights” and “You Moved Away,” Gibbard ruminates on the flux going on in his hometown, and weaves a thread throughout the album about how interconnected geography is with memory, and how hard it can be to hold onto places, and to people, too.

Since the band’s fifth studio album ‘Plans’, Gibbard has employed the practice of going to the studio almost daily, to work on songs, even when they weren’t coming easily. “At first, I’m just throwing stuff at the wall, meditating on a number of different subjects, just trying to get lucky,” he says. Before he knew it, Gibbard had amassed more than thirty song ideas, sketched out in demos he’d share with bassist Nick Harmer, drummer Jason McGerr, guitarist/keyboardist Dave Depper, and keyboardist/guitarist Zac Rae as well as Costey. “At one point I had written so much I thought we might have two records,” says Gibbard. “But we wanted it to be concise enough that you can listen all the way through and then want to put it on again immediately.”

“The thing about Ben and his writing that to me is most inspiring is that every day, he shows up and does the work,” says Harmer. “He’ll have discouraging days and uplifting days, but his sense of discipline and commitment to his craft is just unbelievable.” Early on, a few demos started raising their hands as favorites, says Harmer. The hypnagogic album opener, “I Dreamt We Spoke Again,” with its indelible chorus, a haunting doorbell chime, and a guitar line reminiscent of ‘Music For The Masses’-era Depeche Mode, stood out right away as what Harmer calls “one of those immediately captivating tracks.”

“Gold Rush,” on the other hand, was nearly an abandoned demo that Costey encouraged Gibbard to reapproach. The song, built around a propulsive sample from Yoko Ono’s epic 1972 track “Mind Train,” ended up becoming one of the album’s most exciting tunes -- “a requiem for a skyline” and to a city whose rapid-fire development has led to a sky peppered with cranes and scaffolding. “I’ve had this realization only recently that so many of my memories are tied to my geography,” says Gibbard, describing the inspiration for the tune. “And when that geography changes, it’s as if you’re not only coming to terms with the passage of time, but it’s as if you’re losing those people and that time in your life all over again. Cities are in constant flux, and I’m not claiming victimhood in this, but the speed at which Seattle is changing, and people of color and creative communities are being pushed out, is alarming.”

Expanding on that idea in “You Moved Away,” Gibbard addresses his friend, the artist Derek Erdman, who recently left Seattle to move back to his native Chicago. “He’s an agent provacateur who does playful, absurdist art,” Gibbard explains. “He represented a kind of irreverent, sardonic side of Seattle that is rapidly disappearing as the city gets too expensive. I used to walk by Derek’s apartment on my way to the grocery store, and I’d look up and see in his window all these pieces of art he’d made. And I walk by his apartment now and I get so sad.”

Another song anchored by familiar geography is the late-album winner “Northern Lights,” which references Dye’s Inlet, in Gibbard’s hometown. “I wanted to write a song that was like a John Hughes movie that takes place in my hometown,” he says, “about two people in this suburban wasteland with nothing to do who spend their time on this body of water, one pining for the other, yet both knowing that this place will be a temporary stop in a much longer life.”

Although Gibbard’s initial creative process for this album was much the same as it had been on other recent Death Cab for Cutie LPs, there was an important change when it came time to start pre-production and recording: the addition of new members Dave Depper and Zac Rae, both of whom contribute guitar and keys. In the wake of founding member Chris Walla’s departure in 2014, Death Cab for Cutie had recruited Depper and Rae to join the band as touring players for the shows supporting their 2015 album ‘Kintsugi’. After more than a year and a half of performances together, Gibbard, Harmer and McGerr felt confident enough in Depper and Rae’s creative instincts to invite them to contribute on the new LP, as well. Says Harmer: “The excitement and enthusiasm Dave and Zac had to be part of the process was just infectious. It helped add a playfulness that allowed us to take some risks and laugh if it didn’t work out and high-five if it did. There was a freedom in just playing with one another and letting these guys show us what they were capable of, and giving them room to create.”

“Not only do we love these guys, but it felt like it would be to our benefit to make the next record with them rather than as a three piece,” says Gibbard. “Dave and Zac bring such unbelievable skill sets to the band that we’ve never had.” He cites, for instance, the array of keyboards and synthesizers Rae had at his disposal, and his accompanying skills playing them, for “tiny melodies and ambient sounds” on “Summer Years” that he says give the song a weight and complexity that it wouldn’t have had otherwise. “There’s a nervousness about bringing new people into the creative process, especially if you have lost a seminal member of the band,” says Gibbard, “But Dave and Zac were fans of the band before they were members, so they have a unique perspective on the music that the other three of us can’t see.”

The five members of Death Cab spent several weeks with Costey in his Santa Monica recording studio last fall, recording basic tracks live and later fleshing out additional layers. When they first arrived, Costey had recently finished working with another band, and had adopted their habit of closing each session by saying “Thank you for today” to each of the musicians. “We started saying it to each other every day, no matter what kind of day it had been,” Harmer says. "Whether it had been frustrating or a really great day, we’d all shake each other’s hands and say ‘Thank you for today.’ As time went on, it really started to mean something to us. It’s almost like a Rorschach test, in that it’s an oddly adaptable statement. And when we were thinking about what to call the album, it just seemed to fit so perfectly.”

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Death Cab for Cutie Seattle, Washington

Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band is composed of Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer, Jason McGerr, Dave Depper, and Zac Rae. They have been nominated for eight Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Album for their most recent release, 2015’s Kintsugi. Their ninth album 'Thank You for Today' will be released later this year. ... more

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