For a sure demographic, the naughty aughties had been a transformative decade for what all agree appears like “indie rock.” From the rise of Arcade Hearth, to The Strokes to TV On the Radio to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and even the second wave of Britpop that includes bands like The Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Get together, what was as soon as known as “various” had morphed into one thing concurrently extra numerous and, additionally, possessed an by accident unified aesthetic. Name it twee. Name it no matter you need. The primary ten years of the twenty first century had been a good time for music.
Towards the start of this wave was one report everybody had, and have become the moment soundtrack to every little thing you probably did and in every single place you went. Dropped on February 19, 2003, the one and solely album from The Postal Service — Give Up — was the bittersweet angsty sonic manifesto for a whole era of teenagers and twentysomethings. These of us who keep in mind after we weren’t known as “outdated millennials” may have a tough time accepting that twenty years have handed since this album dropped. Looks as if solely yesterday, we had been sneaking into secret bars to hang around with Ben Gibbard to smoke some Parliament Lights. Simply me?
In fact, The Postal Service is just not actually a band. Ben Gibbard had already established himself because the frontman of Dying Cab For Cutie, which had shaped in 1997. He’s one half of The Postal Service, along with his ethereal vocals and lyrics sounding very very similar to many different nice Dying Cab albums. And but, Give Up predates Dying Cab’s 2003 album Transatlanticism by eight months. Sure, these two Gibbard initiatives had been launched the identical 12 months, however Give Up isn’t a Dying Cab album, any greater than Paul McCartney’s Ram is a Beatles album. And that’s as a result of the key weapon of The Postal Service is Jimmy Tamborello, higher identified by his DJ stage title, Dntel.
Primarily, Dntel crafted that fantastic digital sound, whereas Gibbard wrote the songs. The duo collaborated by snail mail, sending each other burned CDs by means of the US postal service, therefore the title. These back-and-forth music pen buddies, added layers to every music by means of this course of, which finally resulted within the album we received. And, though Gibbard introduced in some Dying Cab collaborators (like Chris Walla), most individuals think about the third honorary member of the Postal Service to be Jenny Lewis. On the time, Lewis was finest generally known as the lead singer of the band Rilo Kiley, although that band’s most well-known album, Extra Adventurous, would not be launched for one more 12 months, in 2004.
Nonetheless, the memorable duet with Gibbard on the observe “Nothing Higher,” is sung with Jen Wooden, of the band Tattle Story. It’s tempting to say “Nothing Higher” is the most effective music on Give Up, principally as a result of it’s definitely the one which’s nice stay, and has essentially the most distinctive and artistic construction. That mentioned, Jenny Lewis sings on almost all the opposite Postal Service tracks, which does make it look like she’s actually on this band.
Monitor-for-track it’s powerful to discover a dangerous music on Give Up. From the opening anthem “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” to the mega-famous observe “Such Nice Heights,” to “Clarke Gable” and “Sleeping In,” every one in every of these songs provides different Dying Cab singles a run for his or her cash. All through, the trick of making catchy upbeat melodies paired with melancholy lyrics works nearly each single time. Aside from possibly “This Place Is a Jail,” which doesn’t actually go wherever.
The classics on Give Up are so good that when Iron & Wine coated “Such Nice Heights,” in 2006, all of your hipster buddies erroneously believed the Postal Service had stolen the music, reasonably than the opposite method round. In 2013, this cowl appeared on a Tenth-anniversary reissue of Give Up together with The Shins protecting “We Will Change into Silhouettes.” These covers are nice, however neither is close to pretty much as good because the Postal Service originals.
It’s tempting to say Give Up was a product of its time, and subsequently dated. However, when you take heed to it now, it feels simply as modern and slick because it sounded twenty years in the past. It’s upbeat sufficient to keep away from being straight-out emo and complex sufficient to make its style considerably undefinable. Twenty years later, any idealistic future has but to reach. So, now, there may very well be nothing higher than placing this album on loud, and dancing and crying such as you’re twenty-five once more.