The Postal Service – Give UpSub-Pop, 2003
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2012
In the nearly 10 years since this Give Up’s release I’ve probably listened to the album a hundred times. It was ubiquitous through my last year of high school and all through college. A security blanket of sorts. A shoulder to cry on after every heartbreak and letdown. A CD locked in the player during those cold Kansas winters where I would just drive around Lawrence smoking cigarettes and contemplating my life as the synths on “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” rattled through the crappy speakers in my car. As much as I associate this with sadness, I’ve associated “Such Great Heights” and moreover “Brand New Colony” with the positive relationships and I’m pretty sure I quoted “Clark Gable” to the first girl I kissed before I kissed her.
I’m listening to this now as a working stiff married dude and all of my sentimentality for it seems to have melted away. There’s a nostalgic pull, because I’ve listened to this album so many times, but there’s a corniness really shining through this time around. And I’m thinking that’s due to Ben Gibbard’s growth as a songwriter. Though Death Cab For Cutie’s albums have been pretty spotty, the songs that really won were big steps forward. Strangely, as successful as Death Cab has become, this is the album Gibbard will be remembered for. The gateway drug to all those teenagers who heard it and settled for Death Cab.
My new favorite thing about Give Up is that it will be the Postal Service’s only album. It would have been so easy to exploit the album’s success but they didn’t. That’s admirable. And now it’s just this independent little thing for future generations to discover and fawn over. I feel like this thing is going to get more and more dated, but in a fun way. The way 80s music is dated and cheesy but in a positive way.