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You Can Play These Songs With Chords Best of

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 12 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Best of
  • Label: Unidisc Music
  • ASIN: B00006L3PW
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,332 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. President of What?
2. Champagne from a Paper Cup
3. Pictures in an Exhibition
4. Hindsight
5. That's Incentive
6. Amputations
7. Two Cars
8. Line of Best Fit
9. This Charming Man
10. TV Trays
11. New Candles
12. Tomorrow
13. Flustered/Hey Tomcat
14. State Street Residential
15. Wait
16. Prove My Hypotheses
17. Song for Kelly Huckaby
18. Army Corps of Architects

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I've read and heard far too many reviews of this album that don't give it the credit it deserves, so hear goes.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
A preliminary note: like the other reviews mention, You Can Play These Songs With Chords isn't the best place for a new Death Cab fan to start. Regardless, it is an excellent collection of songs that pinpoints a band from their infancy to most recent.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Death Cab for Cutie is a band known for both its mellow, down to earth beats and for it's incredible, easy to relate to lyrics. They are also known to rock out on occasion, on such past tracks as "Company Calls" from the "We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes" LP. Here, with "You Can Play These Strings With Chords," the band offers its fans a rare look into its early days, putting their original 8 track demo tape onto a CD. Now, while many may consider this as merely filler until their next album is released in 2003, it is much more than that. While by no means a masterpiece, it is a wonderful window into the band's beginnings. They excel the most with songs not recorded on their first album, as I am a big fan of the re-recording of "Pictures in an Exhibition," while this version seems to be missing something. On "Hindsight," "Two Cars," and "That's Incentive" however, we see that not all demos are bad things, as if not for this album these excellent tracks may very well have been lost to the fans of this wonderful band.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
3 and 1/2 Stars
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."
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