Plans (album)

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Death Cab For Cutie - Plans.png
Studio album by Death Cab for Cutie
Released August 30, 2005
Recorded 2005 at Long View Farm in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, United States
Genre Indie pop, indie rock
Length 44:25
Label Atlantic, Barsuk
Producer Chris Walla
Death Cab for Cutie chronology
Narrow Stairs
Singles from Plans
  1. "Soul Meets Body"
    Released: October 10, 2005
  2. "Crooked Teeth"
    Released: April 11, 2006
  3. "I Will Follow You into the Dark"
    Released: June 26, 2006

Plans is the fifth studio album by indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, released August 30, 2005 on Atlantic Records.

The album spawned three singles: "Soul Meets Body", "Crooked Teeth", and "I Will Follow You into the Dark", with all three songs charting. "Soul Meets Body" and "Crooked Teeth" reached number five and number ten, respectively, on the U.S. Alternative Songs chart. Although "I Will Follow You into the Dark" performed poorly in the charts compared to the previous singles, it eventually became Death Cab for Cutie's best-selling single to-date, and gained the band a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals the following year.

Plans peaked at number four on the Billboard 200, and received platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America on February 28, 2008.[1][2] The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album at the 48th Grammy Awards, held February 8, 2006.


The album was recorded across the period of a month at a rural farmhouse studio located in North Brookfield, Massachusetts. The location was described by lead singer Ben Gibbard, as being "virtually in the middle of nowhere", the sort of place "a label sends a band if the singer's a junkie and they need to get him away from the bad things in the city", adding the location having the advantage that the band were able to "spread out while recording", which Gibbard stated was "really nice".[3][3]

Plans was the first full-length album by the band not largely recorded in their native Pacific Northwest.

Album theme[edit]

Drummer Jason McGerr noted the continuity between Plans and the Death Cab for Cutie's previous album, Transatlanticism. McGerr stated "if Transatlanticism was an inhale, Plans is the exhale."[4]

In explaining the theme of the album, Ben Gibbard stated "I don't think there's necessarily a story, but there's definitely a theme here. One of my favorite kind of dark jokes is, 'How do you make God laugh? You make a plan.' Nobody ever makes a plan that they're gonna go out and get hit by a car. A plan almost always has a happy ending. Essentially, every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time. I really like the idea of a plan not being seen as having definite outcomes, but more like little wishes."[5]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau (choice cut)[8]
Drowned in Sound (4/10)[7]
Entertainment Weekly B+[9]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[10]
Pitchfork Media (6.5/10)[11]
PopMatters (7/10)[12]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[13]
Stylus Magazine B−[14]
Tiny Mix Tapes 3.5/5 stars[15]

Plans has received positive reviews. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 66 out of 100, indicating "Generally favorable reviews."[16] E! Online gave the album an A and said, "[Plans has] ginormous power-pop melodies in songs such as "Soul Meets Body" and "Marching Bands of Manhattan" and wussy-boy lyrics that'll make your heart grow a few sizes."[16] Alternative Press gave it all five stars and said that the album "seamlessly picks up right where 2003’s Transatlanticism left off."[17] Billboard gave the album a very favorable review and said it "delivers beyond expectations".[16] Filter gave it a score of 80% and said, "DCFC is becoming a band that's worth noticing apart from Ben."[16] Under the Radar gave it eight stars out of ten and called it "a careful but not calculated album, accessible but hardly immediate, and likely to frustrate those who want it to fuel either side of an ideological debate on what it means to be indie."[16] URB gave the album four stars out of five and said that "Despite what the blog-haters might say, Gibbard and Co. more than make the grade."[16] The A.V. Club gave it a favorable review and stated that "The band wears grandiosity with grace, miniaturizing and polishing big, broad moments into tiny triumphs that, like audible illusions, feel simultaneously intimate and huge."[18] musicOMH gave it four stars out of five and called it "an album of progression that is likely to win the band plenty of new fans, but it shouldn't alienate their fanbase either."[16][19] Rhyannon Rodriguez, writing for Kludge, regarded the album as "a melodically-mellow masterpiece" which expresses the "absolute epitome of this generation's pop."[20] Blender gave it three-and-a-half stars out of five and said that "At times, the writing feels almost too weightless. But repeat listening makes these songs reliably addictive."[16]

Other reviews are very average, mixed, or negative: gave the album six stars out of ten and stated: "Never the hardest rocking of bands, Death Cab for Cutie sound positively muted throughout Plans, Gibbard's obsession with the temporary nature of relationships and life itself receiving appropriately somber accompaniment."[21] Q gave it three stars out of five and said it "doesn't differ radically from the previous four.... Newcomers, however, should start with 2003's more cohesive Transatlanticism."[16] The Guardian also gave it three stars out of five and stated, "Gibbard's angelic vocals sag with the weariness of a man who's gazed at his navel all his life only to realise there's nothing but fluff and darkness."[22] Prefix Magazine gave the album a score of five out of ten and stated: "Although the band hasn’t really strayed from its cutesy indie-pop formula, the qualities that made Death Cab stand out aren’t present this time around."[23] NME gave it a score of four out of ten and said the album was "produced within an inch of its shiny, whitebread life and the Cutie seem to have lost their faux-naive subtleties, becoming the non-thinking man's Coldplay along the way."[16] Mojo gave it two stars out of five and said it "makes Athlete, Snow Patrol et al sound like fire-breathing berserkers."[16] Uncut also gave it two stars out of five and said of the band, "Their failure to shift pace from a relentlessly wistful chug makes for an oddly exhausting listening experience."[16] Drawer B gave the album an unfavorable review and called it "a pretty boring album, and the primary reason is its lack of diversity."[24] The Village Voice also gave it an unfavorable review and said, "Death Cab succeed by refusing to offend. That can be an admirable trait in a person, but never in a musician."[25]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Marching Bands of Manhattan"   Ben Gibbard 4:13
2. "Soul Meets Body"   Gibbard 3:51
3. "Summer Skin"   Gibbard, Jason McGerr, Chris Walla 3:14
4. "Different Names for the Same Thing"   Gibbard 5:09
5. "I Will Follow You into the Dark"   Gibbard 3:09
6. "Your Heart Is an Empty Room"   Gibbard 3:39
7. "Someday You Will Be Loved"   Gibbard, Walla 3:11
8. "Crooked Teeth"   Gibbard, Walla 3:24
9. "What Sarah Said"   Gibbard, Nick Harmer 6:21
10. "Brothers on a Hotel Bed"   Gibbard, Walla 4:31
11. "Stable Song"   Gibbard 3:42
Total length:


"Stable Song", the final track on the album, is a reworking of the song "Stability", originally a 12-minute long track from The Stability EP which features songs from the limited edition and Japanese versions of 2001's The Photo Album.

"Different Names for the Same Thing" was written after a chance encounter on a train traveling rural Maryland. Ben Gibbard overheard a conversation between a red haired woman he only knew as Ashley Renee and a man. She expressed her frustration of people in her life not understanding her passions, emotions and love for life. "The boundaries of language" was a phrase used to explain that while people may speak the same literal language the meaning is not always understood.



  • Produced, recorded and mixed by Christopher Walla
  • Additional recording by Mike Lapierre, Kip Beelman, Robbie Skrocki, Beau Sorenson
  • 'Crooked Teeth' mixed by Chris Shaw at Sound Track, New York, NY
  • William Swan – Trumpet (Track 2)
  • Sean Nelson – Harmonies (Track 8)
  • Recorded in the barn at Longview Farm, North Brookfields, MA
  • Additional recordings at Avast!, Seattle; Robert Lang Studios, Seattle; The Hall of Justice and Skrocki, Seattle
  • Mixed at Smart Studios in Madison, WI
  • Mastered by Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering in Phoenix, AZ
  • Artwork and layout – Adde Russell


  1. ^ "Artist Chart History — Death Cab for Cutie". Billboard. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Gold and Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Mar, Alex (April 8, 2005). "Death Cab Make "Plans"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  4. ^ Bendery, Jennifer (October 24, 2005). "Movin' on Up (Without Sellin' on Out): An Interview with Death Cab for Cutie". PopMatters. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ Clark, Rick (January 1, 2006). "Death Cab for Cutie: Growing In The Studio, Making Plans". Mix Magazine. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  6. ^ Theakston, Rob. "Plans – Death Cab for Cutie". Allmusic. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  7. ^ Diver, Mike (August 31, 2005). "Death Cab For Cutie – Plans". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Death Cab for Cutie". Retrieved July 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ Hermes, Will (September 9, 2005). "Plans Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ Jollett, Mikel (August 28, 2005). "The Cab ride accelerates". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ Tangari, Joe (August 29, 2005). "Death Cab for Cutie: Plans". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  12. ^ Dermott, Ryan (September 8, 2005). "Death Cab For Cutie: Plans". PopMatters. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  13. ^ Sheffield, Rob (August 22, 2005). "Plans". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  14. ^ McGowan, Ross (September 6, 2005). "Death Can for Cutie - Plans - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  15. ^ Guest Writer (2005). "Death Cab for Cutie – Plans". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Critic Reviews for Plans". Metacritic. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  17. ^ Bayer, Jonah (November 2005). "Death Cab For Cutie - Plans". Alternative Press: 208. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  18. ^ Modell, Josh (August 30, 2005). "Death Cab For Cutie: Plans". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  19. ^ Turnbull, David (August 29, 2005). "Death Cab For Cutie - Plans". musicOMH. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  20. ^ Rodriguez, Rhyannon. "Death Cab for Cutie: Plans". Kludge. Archived from the original on November 1, 2006. Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  21. ^ Gozdecki, Steve (2005). "Death Cab For Cutie: Plans". Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  22. ^ Clarke, Betty (August 25, 2005). "Death Cab for Cutie, Plans". The Guardian. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  23. ^ Sheppard, Justin (August 29, 2005). "Album Review: Death Cab for Cutie - Plans". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  24. ^ Howell, Robert (September 26, 2005). "Death Cab For Cutie, Plans (Atlantic)". Drawer B. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  25. ^ Sylvester, Nick (September 6, 2005). "Pussyfooting". The Village Voice. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  26. ^ Death Cab For Cutie – Plans (Vinyl, LP, Album). Discogs. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  27. ^ Death Cab For Cutie – Plans (CD, Album). Discogs. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  28. ^ Plans by Death Cab for Cutie. iTunes. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  29. ^ PLANS available for pre-order through iTunes. Death Cab for Cutie. August 17, 2005. Retrieved July 26, 2011.

External links[edit]