My 54th Favorite Song of All-Time


“The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie

(note: I wrote this entry about 4 or 5 months ago.  Isn’t it interesting how it ties in so perfectly with my life right now??)

I not only love this song because it’s an amazing song, but for the time in my life that it evokes in my memories.  First, about the song:

It has pretty much established most of my thoughts about “new years”, as we call it in this culture, and things like resolutions…all the kinds of shit I bitch about starting around December 28th.  Like most of what Ben Gibbard writes, every word is absolutely perfect, the meaning is intensely conveyed and no word is ornamental or extra.  The pulsing, undulating chords of the music reflect the solemnity of the lyrics, and the desperate yearning of the final repitition…”there’d be no distance that could hold us back” reeks of the honestly of a man who knows the past is unreachable.

I bought the album this song is on (Transatlantisicm) a few weeks before I got hired in my current job as a manager for a restaurant company.  This was a major step up for me.  This was also shortly after I’d bought my first-ever brand-new car.  This was a banner time in my life, a life which had only recently come back from the very brink.  Musically, I was just starting to branch out into “indie” music, an area of music I knew I wanted to be a part of but hadn’t yet figured out my entry point.

So anyway, I bought this Death Cab for Cutie album right before my company sent me to Pittsburgh for two weeks for training classes.  They put us up in a hotel that was about a ten minute drive from the corporate office, so every morning, bright and early, in this brand new car and in this amazing brand new life, I would find myself driving through early-morning Pittsburgh as this album played.  “The New Year” is the first track on the CD, so I heard it often (and often had it on repeat).  It was a truly magical time, and this song takes me back there.  Also, fuck resolutions.

So this is the new year,
and i don’t feel any different.
The clanking of crystal,
explosions off in the distance.

So this is the new year
and I have no resolutions.
They’re self-assigned penance
for problems with easy solutions.

So everybody put your best suit or dress on.
Let’s make believe that we are wealthy for just this once,
lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
as thirty dialogues bleed into one.
I wish the world was flat like the old days
and I could travel just by folding a map.
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways.
There’d be no distance that could hold us back.

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