When You Hear This Song: “Transatlanticism” by Death Cab for Cutie (2003)

Screenshot 2020-04-07 12.55.59

Glorious grunge popper Celeste Taucher aka Talker celebrates the gorgeous epic that sets her heart alight, Death Cab for Cuties’s “Transatlanticism”…

I’m not totally sure when I first heard the song “Transatlantacism”, it had definitely been out for a while by that point (I was eight years old when it was originally released). But when I was in high school really finding my own tastes and discovering music, I fell in love with Death Cab for Cutie. Hard. They’re my favorite band and Ben Gibbard is my favorite lyricist. I loved it right away, but it actually had a second life for me when I moved away to college. My campus had a lake that I would walk around and just sit by listening to this song (the whole album really) and get way too in my feelings.

Everything about this song gets to me. The lyrics are perfect, and very classically Ben Gibbard. The visual he paints of the feeling of distance between two people is so beautiful, and yet so full of desperation and agony. And musically it’s gorgeous, the way it builds into this huge cathartic ending is so moving. I have a few memories attached to it, but the main ones that come to mind are actually of seeing the song done live. I’ve been lucky enough to see Death Cab perform a few times, but there were two particular shows that really got to me. First one took place at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery during an especially emotional time in my life, and the other was in Mexico City during a another really special time. Both experiences were really moving in different ways but I will say it’s really special to stand in a crowd of people, crying, and all singing together with your favorite lyricist.

While the song and album didn’t necessarily lead me to discover other music, it really got me further into Death Cab’s discography. All of their albums carry a lot of meaning for me and have been really essential to my own development as an artist and a human.

I still get emotional when I listen to the song and it will never really lose its meaning or its relevance to me. We’re always going through changes, we’re always missing someone and yearning for something we don’t have. That’s a universal experience of the human condition and I think this song perfectly captures it. I’m sure over time it will evolve to mean different things for me, too.

This song (and  Gibbard’s writing as a whole) has been a huge influence on my own work. I think I draw a lot from his writing style and visual storytelling. I’ve wanted to cover it forever, but I don’t think I would do it justice. I think it’s untouchable !

🐬 You can check out Talker’s amazing Wax EP below, one of 2020’s finest :

  2 comments for “When You Hear This Song: “Transatlanticism” by Death Cab for Cutie (2003)

  1. Eric Blomstrom
    April 7, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    Saw them in Brooklyn last year, it was fantastic, and when this song was building to its climax I had tears streaming down my face.


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