Plans (album)

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A close-up to an anemone-like creature in an empty fishbowl with light reflecting over it
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 30, 2005
StudioLong View Farm in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, United States
ProducerChris Walla
Death Cab for Cutie chronology
Narrow Stairs
Singles from Plans
  1. "Soul Meets Body"
    Released: August 16, 2005
  2. "Crooked Teeth"
    Released: April 18, 2006
  3. "I Will Follow You into the Dark"
    Released: June 13, 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 US 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]

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
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[7]
Blender3/5 stars[8]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[9]
The Guardian3/5 stars[10]
The Irish Times4/5 stars[11]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[12]
Q3/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[16]

Plans received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 66, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[6] Jonah Bayer of Alternative Press stated that Plans "seamlessly picks up right where 2003’s Transatlanticism left off" and praised its "cinematic" scope.[17] The A.V. Club's Josh Modell wrote 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] David Turnbull of musicOMH deemed Plans to be "an album of progression that is likely to win the band plenty of new fans, but it shouldn't alienate their fanbase either."[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] While stating that "at times, the writing feels almost too weightless", Ann Powers, writing in Blender, nonetheless contended that "repeat listening makes these songs reliably addictive."[8]

In a mixed assessment, Betty Clarke of The Guardian felt that Plans was at times "unconvincing", but that when Gibbard "wrestles with big questions in smaller ways, he makes magic."[10] While contending that Plans "doesn't differ radically from the previous four" Death Cab for Cutie albums, Q felt that Transatlanticism was a "more cohesive" effort.[15] The NME wrote that 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",[13] while Uncut opined that the band's "failure to shift pace from a relentlessly wistful chug makes for an oddly exhausting listening experience."[21] Nick Sylvester of The Village Voice wrote that "Death Cab succeed by refusing to offend", which "can be an admirable trait in a person, but never in a musician."[22] In his Consumer Guide column for the same publication, Robert Christgau selected "I Will Follow You into the Dark" as a "choice cut",[23] indicating a "good song on an album that isn't worth your time or money."[24]

Track listing[edit]

1."Marching Bands of Manhattan"Ben Gibbard4:13
2."Soul Meets Body"Gibbard3:51
3."Summer Skin"Gibbard, Jason McGerr, Chris Walla3:14
4."Different Names for the Same Thing"Gibbard5:09
5."I Will Follow You into the Dark"Gibbard3:09
6."Your Heart Is an Empty Room"Gibbard3:39
7."Someday You Will Be Loved"Gibbard, Walla3:11
8."Crooked Teeth"Gibbard, Walla3:24
9."What Sarah Said"Gibbard, Nick Harmer6:21
10."Brothers on a Hotel Bed"Gibbard, Walla4:31
11."Stable Song"Gibbard3:42
Total length:44:25
Vinyl bonus track[25]
12."Talking Like Turnstiles"2:28
Japanese bonus track[26]
12."Jealousy Rides with Me"2:25
iTunes Store bonus tracks[27]
No.TitleOriginal artistLength
12."Start Again"Teenage Fanclub2:38
13."Bad Reputation" (pre-order bonus track[28])Freedy Johnston4:16


"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.


Death Cab for Cutie[edit]


  • 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


Chart (2005) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[29] 48
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[30] 86
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[31] 36
UK Albums (OCC)[32] 104
US Billboard 200[33] 4


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[34] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[36] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Artist Chart History — Death Cab for Cutie". Billboard. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  2. ^ "Gold and Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  3. ^ Mar, Alex (April 8, 2005). "Death Cab Make "Plans"". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 7, 2007. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  4. ^ Jennifer Bendery (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. Archived from the original on April 27, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Reviews for Plans by Death Cab for Cutie". Metacritic. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  7. ^ Theakston, Rob. "Plans – Death Cab for Cutie". AllMusic. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Powers, Ann (October 2005). "Death Cab for Cutie: Plans". Blender (41): 133. Archived from the original on August 13, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Hermes, Will (September 9, 2005). "Plans". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Clarke, Betty (August 25, 2005). "Death Cab for Cutie, Plans". The Guardian. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  11. ^ Carroll, Jim (September 16, 2005). "Death Cab for Cutie: Plans (Atlantic)". The Irish Times. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Jollett, Mikel (August 28, 2005). "The Cab ride accelerates". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Death Cab for Cutie: Plans". NME: 74. August 27, 2005.
  14. ^ Tangari, Joe (August 29, 2005). "Death Cab for Cutie: Plans". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Death Cab for Cutie: Plans". Q (231): 115. October 2005.
  16. ^ Sheffield, Rob (August 22, 2005). "Plans". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  17. ^ Bayer, Jonah (November 2005). "Death Cab For Cutie – Plans". Alternative Press (208): 208. Archived from the original on November 4, 2010. 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. ^ "Death Cab for Cutie: Plans". Uncut (101): 98. October 2005.
  22. ^ Sylvester, Nick (September 6, 2005). "Pussyfooting". The Village Voice. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 10, 2006). "Consumer Guide: Extraordinary Machines". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons". Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  25. ^ Death Cab For Cutie – Plans (Vinyl, LP, Album). Discogs. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  26. ^ Death Cab For Cutie – Plans (CD, Album). Discogs. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  27. ^ Plans by Death Cab for Cutie. iTunes. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  28. ^ PLANS available for pre-order through iTunes. Death Cab for Cutie. August 17, 2005. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  29. ^ " – Death Cab for Cutie – Plans". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  30. ^ " – Death Cab for Cutie – Plans" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  31. ^ " – Death Cab for Cutie – Plans". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  32. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: Asher D – Dyverse". Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  33. ^ "Death Cab for Cutie Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  34. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Death Cab for Cutie – Plans". Music Canada. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  35. ^ "British album certifications – Death Cab for Cutie – Plans". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 28, 2019.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Plans in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  36. ^ "American album certifications – Death Cab For Cutie – Plans". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 17, 2019.

External links[edit]