Farewell Walla: Top 25 Death Cab for Cutie songs

March 28, 2017 edit: I am updating this post to make it current, as the 2014 version was pre Kintsugi. The majority of this text was written in September 2014.

Recently Chris Walla announced he would be leaving Death Cab for Cutie after their next tour, which coincides with the upcoming release of their 8th studio album (early 2015). Because of that, there has been Death Cab news all over the web in response.

I began writing this post over a month ago, as I recently moved to Germany from the US, I didn't have internet at home for the first month, so blogging has been the last thing on my mind. But, I am WAY overdue for a post, and Paste Magazine inspired me as they posted a top 10 list of Death Cab songs.

The Paste list, found here, is terrible. I seriously doubt a fan of the band wrote it. Without ripping it to shreds, I’ll just post my own list. I have been a fan of Death Cab since 1999, so almost the beginning. The first album I bought was We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes and I saw them on tour for The Photo Album. I am not trying to defend my credentials, but I have them.

About Chris Walla’s departure: he is essential. Obviously Ben Gibbard is the voice and writes all the lyrics, but Chris Walla’s production and instrumentation are awesome. Grantland, a sports news website, published this terrific article about his contributions.

Transatlanticism and The Photo Album dominate my list, because they are far and away the band’s best work. (And only three of Paste’s 10 made my 20.)

25. "You've Haunted Me All My Life" from Kintsugi

24. "Company Calls" and "Company Calls Epilogue" from We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes (Paste’s #1)

23. "Summer Skin" from Plans

22. "Information Travels Faster" from The Photo Album

21. "Home is a Fire" from Codes and Keys (If Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel were still together, "Monday Morning" would be here instead. But their divorce ruined that song for me.)

20. "Someday You Will be Loved" from Plans

19. "Everything's a Ceiling" from Kintsugi

18. "A Movie Script Ending" from The Photo Album (Paste’s #5)

17. "Scientist Studies" from We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes (The first Death Cab song I ever heard, on a mix tape; led me to buy this album.)

16. "The New Year" from Transatlanticism (Paste’s #3)

15. "Coney Island" from The Photo Album

14. "Your Heart is an Empty Room" from Plans

13. "Title and Registration" from Transatlanticism

12. "Different Names for the Best Thing" from Plans

11. "Black Sun" from Kintsugi

10. "Why’d You Want to Live Here?" from the Photo Album

9. "Title Track" from We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes

8. "You are a Tourist" from Codes and Keys (Paste blasts this--Death Cab’s best single--while including Death Cab’s two most popular songs ever, including the incredibly blah "Soul Meets Body".)

7. "I Will Possess Your Heart" from Narrow Stairs (I hate Narrow Stairs. HATE it. But I love this song. I bought the 7” single before the LP came out, and it would have been fine if the full-length had never seen the light of the day. Every other song on the LP, with maybe the exception of "Bixby Canyon Bridge", is completely forgettable).

6. "Little Wanderer" " from Kintsugi

5. "Styrofoam Plates" from The Photo Album

4. "This Temporary Life" from the Future Soundtrack for America complication (I have no idea where this song came from, but it is epic. I just did a Google search to read more on the the background.)

3 and 2 and 1. Ridiculous and amazing that these three songs are back-to-back-to-back on the same album—Transatlanticism. If I was going to introduce Death Cab to someone this is where I would start: "Tiny Vessels", "Transatlanticism", and "Passenger Seat". The middle of these three songs was performed at my wedding in 2004.

Here are the first two of those three songs being performed live back-to-back in 2012:

Final note: It is obvious that my favorite Death Cab for Cutie album is Transatlanticism. After you have explored that album in depth, check out the recently released Transatlanticism Demos, which is the demo version of all 11 songs on the album (only $5 at Barsuk.com).

Edit: I didn't know it at the time, but I actually posted this blog the day that Death Cab played their final show with Chris Walla. You can watch the final song from this show here.