I’m too cool for this album: “Give Up” by The Postal Service
I have never really liked The Postal Service, based solely on the fact that I did not like "Such Great Heights" when it came out 20 years ago. I don’t know why—I love electronic music plus, cringe, I did like a couple Owl City songs, who everyone compared to the Postal Service. Since I’m on a kick of revisiting albums I ignored in the 90s and early 00s, plus I’m actually seeing The Postal Service and Death Cab For Cutie back to back playing Give Up and Transatlanticism live in their entirety, I figured I should listen to Give Up. (And yes, Transantlanticism will be the subject of a future post!)
A caveat: While I listened to the deluxe version of Give Up for this post, my review will focus on the original album. In general, none of the songs on the second disc stood out to me. (Except the cover of “Against All Odds”. I never thought I’d praise Phil Collins, but here I am, admitting that his version is better than The Postal Service’s. 19 year old me would be horrified.)
On to the review!
My favorite song on the album? "Nothing Better". I really enjoyed the back and forth between Ben Gibbard and Jen Wood, the lyrics, and the sound in general. It’s a perfect combination of everything!
I also liked “We Will Become Silhouettes” (hey, I spelled ‘silhouettes’ correctly on the first try). I had heard this song before but it never stuck out to me, but I enjoyed it in the context of the album.
Also, yes… I enjoyed "Such Great Heights". As much as it pains me to admit it, yes, it’s a good song and super fun to drive to! (I’m just going to ignore the Iron & Wine cover as no matter how many times I listen to them, I can’t get into them!)
Other songs I enjoyed on the album
I loved “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” as the album’s opener. It starts off slow but driving and becomes slightly more dance-y, yet still conveying loneliness and longing.
I also liked "Clark Gable", "Brand New Colony", and "Sleeping In". Not sure what else to say about these songs, just that I enjoyed both the lyrics and the sound.
I thought "National Anthem", the closer, was an interesting choice to end the album. I’m really curious to see what this will sound like live as I imagine it will be pretty spectacular in person!
I did not enjoy two of the songs on the album—“Recycled Air” and “This Place is a Prison”. Of course the lyrics were great, but I did not like the overall sound of these songs. Maybe that’s the goal, for these sounds to sound similar to what the lyrics convey, but they weren’t my favorite. I’ve never listened to an album where I enjoyed every song, so I expected this.
In all, this album didn’t hit me like In the Aeroplane over the Sea or Funeral, but this album was fun to listen to in the car. Lyrically, the album is amazing, but I didn’t like the ‘slower’ songs like "Recycled Air" and "This Place is a Prison" due to their sound. Yes, as I wrote above, I even liked "Such Great Heights"! Now that I’m familiar with this album, I can’t wait to see it performed live in September.