#36 – Passenger Seat


Artist – Death Cab for Cutie
Album – Transatlanticism
Year – 2003
Genre – Soft Alternative

Coming into this review, I had little listening time with Death Cab for Cutie’s earlier body of work. However, when I first heard this track I immediately loved it. It’s a very beautiful, moody piano driven track that really captures the essence of a certain moment in time. It’s no secret that I love imagery in songs, and this particular song is perfect in the sense that you can truly imagine and feel what frontman Ben Gibbard is singing about. So, speaking of Gibbard…

If the phrase “honesty is the best policy” were to apply to a singer, Ben Gibbard would be that singer. His tone is the most crisp of any singer I’ve known, and his voice just oozes that genuine emotion that can only be found in a select few. He’s one of those singer’s that’s not extraordinary, but he’s perfect for the music that he writes. The lyrics are beautifully simple and full of description. It’s about experiencing all of the beautiful feelings whilst driving on a beautiful night with someone close. It’s a mixture of all the subtle emotions that hang in the air on nights like that. It’s all the things you want to tell that person, but you’re so taken by the beauty of the night and the experience of being with them. The way the song captures the feeling of driving home after a long day with someone is pure poetry. Gibbard sings like a shy man, but that makes the song all the more powerful.

The music is even simpler, with a droning piano backing and some soothing, yet odd piano chords and notes over the top. The melody itself is sentimental and somehow captures that slight chill in the air you feel when driving at night. It contrasts Gibbard’s warm vocals very well, and as the song closes out, he almost silently confides his feelings to the person driving. It’s a very subtle, yet poignant and powerful way to close this quietly brilliant track.

Passenger Seat is a great song for anyone looking to check out Death Cab for the first time. It’s a song that is resonant and one that makes you experience that thrill and emotion of driving at night with someone you care about. It’s full of sweetness and innocence, yet maturity and poise. It’s a great soft song to reflect upon and listen to for time to come.

What did you all think? Let me know below!

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