9. Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism
The early ‘00s wave of emo didn’t last for very long, but in hovering around the mainstream and becoming somewhat of a commercial force, it gained a larger fanbase than the genre ever had before, many of whom now pine for their younger days of floppy fringes and heavy eyeliner. That’s a long winded way of saying that, however good of a record Transatlanticism is, its critical status comes more from a place of nostalgia than real quality.
That’s not to say the album shouldn’t be celebrated. Opener “The New Year” is a genuine emo classic, and some of the more inventive songs like “We Looked Like Giants” ably illustrate the scope of Ben Gibbard’s ambition.
Other tracks have dated less well, though. Most notable is the title track, a long and indulgent number that builds from a sparse piano backing to nothing altogether too interesting. “Title And Registration” sounds like the Dismemberment Plan if they were all half asleep.
These are genuinely emotional and often incredibly effective songs, but if you were to come in cold in 2021, it wouldn’t sound like anything to write home about when compared to, say, The Promise Ring or Rites Of Spring. Nostalgia, though, is one of the most powerful drugs there is.