February 12, 2013

Song Review: The Postal Service's "A Tattered Line of String"

The rudest thing I ever heard anyone say about Ben Gibbard’s career so far came about in 2007 at a party while eavesdropped on two med school students politely discuss the former Mr. Deschanel’s band endeavors, Death Cab for Cutie and the Postal Service. Ultimately, they came to the conclusion that the Postal Service – despite having just one album and already settled into inactivity -- were the better of the two. I’ll admit that Death Cab’s relevance today isn’t what it used to be half a decade ago, but the Postal Service’s obligatory 10-year anniversary deluxe reissue of their timely Aughties indie pop classic Give Up alongside a reunion coinciding with this year’s festival season payday is the sort of thing that should make any suspicious music consumer grumble. After all, Gibbard and DJ electrician Jimmy Tamborello only saw one small club tour during their first life, and today, that has somehow translated into a date at Jay-Z’s Barclay’s Center. Give Up got its fair share of spins in my car’s CD player during its heyday, but their basic 8-bit synth-pop isn’t one that has aged well (and one that can be held partially responsible for the advent of Owl City teen bop.) “A Tattered Line of String” is one of two brand new songs on Give Up’s deluxe reissue that furthers this realization. Where their Nintendo blips and glitches were endearing enough to inspire Michael Angelakos to record Passion Pit’s debut Chunk of Change EP in an MIT dorm, Gibbard and Tamborello's laptop-pop blueprint is dwarfed in comparison to today’s uber-fashionable standards. It's nice that the Postal Service's return brings back a flood of memories from a golden era when "indie" was finally becoming accepted into the mainstream, but "A Tattered Line of String"'s lack of self-awareness in modern times is also a reminder that some styles are best left in the past.

The Postal Service - "A Tattered Line of String"

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