Asphalt Meadows

Death Cab for Cutie

Asphalt Meadows

Death Cab’s mix of youthful fragility and deep, romantic yearning is one of the hallmarks of modern rock. Even at their most melodramatic, they maintain composure in ways their emo ancestors didn’t, and their 10th album in a now-25-year career is no exception. But like the imagery behind its title, Asphalt Meadows is a rougher sound than the sometimes porcelain smoothness of their 2010s albums, mining similar tender—brisk New Wave (“I Miss Strangers,” “Asphalt Meadows”), gentle Americana (“Rand McNally”), and big, atmospheric ballads (“I’ll Never Give Up On You”). As always, Ben Gibbard reaches to make specifics feel universal (“We lived on whiskey and Twizzlers”) and universals (“These days I miss strangers more than I miss my friends”) feel like he somehow wrote them just for you.

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