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You Can Play These Songs With Chords Best of
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Top Customer Reviews
Honestly, this is an incredible album, but you have to be a Death Cab fan to appreciate it. Yes, this is their first demo and their B-sides. So don't complain if you buy it and aren't pleased because it's not "up to their usual quality"
But this album gives you insight into Death Cab that you aren't going to find anywhere else. So if you care about this band and actually appreciate their music in a moving sense, it's incredible. Some of the B-sides on this album are more incredible than the original songs. Also, it's amazing to hear the differences between the songs that made it onto latter recordings and those which were laid down for You Can Play These Songs With Chords.
So stop complaining. If you didn't like this album, you don't really like Death Cab. If you do, however, this is a rare treasure. Buy it, but only if you're a real fan. You know who you are.
The opening eight tracks are a re-release of the demo recordings singer/guitarist Ben Gibbard did in 1997 (released with the same title as this compliation). Playing all of the instruments himself, the bulk of these demos resurfaced a short while later on Death Cab's first proper album, Something About Airplanes (then played with a full band). For the most part, the sound quality is awfully lo-fi, which recorder/future DCFC guitarist Chris Walla was obviously aiming for. As for the music, most of the songs are close enough to the final product, which is two-thumbs-up material. The few demos that didn't make it, like "Hindsight" and "That's Incentive" (with its limber bassline) show that not all songs cut were bad.
The rest of the material is a collection of B-sides from DC's history. Some, like "TV Trays" and the original version of "Song for Kelly Huckaby," are on the verge of being subpar. Others, like the pretty "Army Corp of Architects," the quasi-Built to Spill-ish "Prove My Hypotheses" and the Something About Airplanes misfire "State Street Residential," are some of the best tracks the band has recorded. Some, like the hilarious cover of the Smiths' "This Charming Man" and the 'European Dance Hit' "Tomorrow," just don't fit into any catagory.
For the most part, this is a great collection of songs Death Cab fans will be eager to get ahold of. For the newcomer, this may prove to be a confusing assortment of tracks.
Oh, side note: the CD insert is a great help: I was always interested in who plays on songs, and this delievers in addition to the amusing notes provided by the band members.
The B-Sides are another great added bonus. The only B-side Songs I had heard before this CD were "Wait," "Song for Kelly Huckaby(an extra on my Facts import)," and "Army Corps For Architects." By far, the best song here is "Army Corps," churning out sweet melodies and lyrics which are noticeably absent form most other music these days. This album helps me see how much better the "underground" music is as compared to "mainstream" as not once have Death Cab been on radio in NYC, yet they deserve all that and more. So, when you feel ready to buy this CD, buy "Facts" or "Something About Airplanes" first. It will get you ready for this, and what is to come from the band known only as Death Cab For Cutie.
You Can Play These Songs With Chords is a compilation of demo songs that were re-recorded for Something About Airplanes, 7-inch singles and out takes from their other albums. You can tell which is which because the demos sound like they're recorded in a bathroom but they also have an appealing live feel. This album is for established fans of DCFC. If this is a band you've heard good things about and want to pick up a disc, get We Have the Facts instead.
Chords has the demos that started the sound, a cover or two and outtakes. Like most B-Side albums, these were songs deemed not to be good enough to include on the LPs, so don't expect to find too many jewels but some are there. Chords is still worth the money. The band experiments with their sound more on these tracks, going for a faster, more haphazard sound, like the thuddish rockers "TV Trays" and "New Candles" while reverting to their familiar ponderous jangle on others. Everyone will get a kick out of their jumpy cover of "This Charming Man" and DCFC fans will definitely find some new favorite songs. Like most of their albums, Chords needs time to sink in before you really start to enjoy it. Highlights include "Hindsight," "TV Trays," "Wait," "Prove My Hypothesis" and "Army Corps of Architects."
Most recent customer reviews
Out of sheer randomness, this seems to be the first Death Cab For Cutie album that I've acquired or even listened to, so I have not all that much in the way of context here. Read morePublished on May 14 2004 by Michael Pemulis
This CD was a Christmas gift and an amazing one at that. The melodies are addictive! I was a somewhat interested DCfC fan before I heard this album, now I am a true fan. Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2004 by Evin
What the heck was Ben Gibbard thinking?!?! The cover of the Smith's "This Charming Man" is downright embarassing and should of never seen the light of day. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by T. Lee
This album is a collection of rarities and b-sides and I would not reccomend it to the first time death cab buyer your best bet is to pick up the photo album the biggest plus to... Read morePublished on July 26 2003 by Brian
I'm fairly familiar with DCFC, having seen them live three times and hearing most of their songs.
This is one of my favorite Death Cab albums. It's raw and fun. Read more
I enjoyed the Forbidden Love EP way back when. But now what is all the hype? And what is with the horrendous Smiths cover?
Give me a break.