Death Cab for Cutie - “Asphalt Meadows” Album Review

Story posted September 25, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Rachel Fisher

Death Cab for Cutie has been releasing music for 25 years, with songs from their 2005 album, Plans, as their most listened to all these years later. 

This band has continued to release albums every two or three years, but regarding their tenth studio album, “Asphalt Meadows”, the frontman Ben Gibbard said the album made them “feel like a new band”.

Death Cab for Cutie worked on this album with a new producer, which lead to a different and more intense heartfelt sound from the band.

Their melancholic indie rock style is definitely unique, but it is one of these genres that takes a person a few listens of the album for the music to grow on them.

The first song on the album, “I Don’t Know How I Survive” is definitely one that takes some adjusting to. The phrase, “These nights / I don’t know how I survive” is repeated over and over again by Gibbard. It starts out slow, but there is an explosive chorus that nicely creates a quiet-loud combo and emphasizes the meaning behind these lyrics.

The next song, “Roman Candles”, definitely stands out in the album. This song is more intense than the first and is matched with lyrics displaying intense emotions. The ascending buildup in the verses and at the end of the song is memorable and strong.

The third song is the same name as the album, and with that, it carries its weight. The song is slow at first but once the beat kicks in it becomes incredibly catchy and easy to get sucked into.

“Rand McNally” has a really nice, sparkling instrumental with a positive message that evokes feelings of hope and aspiration, and “Here to Forever” is an equally average song that is catchy and upbeat.

The most unique song of the album is definitely “Foxglove Through The Clearcut”, but not necessarily in a good way. It features spoken verses and has a sad and soothing feel to it. Remarkably, the song’s creation date was over 25 years ago, as Gibbard found the unfinished instrumental track in his master tapes on his computer.

The 90s vibe of the melody paired with Gibbard talking over the track is certainly daring and creative, and it is his first time attempting this, but unfortunately, the song falls short and drags on for over five minutes.

“Pepper” is a sharp contrast to this with a guitar strum instrumental and a faster pace.  Gibbard sings in a higher pitch during the chorus which sounds really beautiful. The next song, “I Miss Strangers”, had more of a rock element that is reminiscent of the band’s songs of the past.

The last few songs were rather mellow, unfortunately with nothing standing out, however, the final song of the album, “I'll Never Give Up On You”, certainly delivers with heartfeltness and concludes the album with a bang.

Overall, this album has some passionate and somber lyrics about love, as well as experiences in the world and with others, but gets a bit too boring and repetitive at times. The repetition of certain lyrics, phrases, and choruses is overarching throughout the album, which is a bold choice, although it was slightly abused.

For a band that has been releasing albums for decades, it is admirable that they experimented with their sound, as the electronic aspects were a nice addition. This paired with Gibbard’s melodious vocals made for a satisfactory album.

Rating: 6/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “I Don’t Know How I Survive”, “Asphalt Meadows” and “Pepper”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: “Foxglove Through The Clearcut” and “Fragments From the Decade”


Rachel Fisher is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism.  To contact her, email