Friday, December 22, 2006

Death Cab for Cutie

For those who don't have teenagers in the house, yeah, you read it right. Death Cab for Cutie is a band my 13 (nearly 14 going on 26) year old daughter introduced me to. We pretty much have to listen to Hawthorne Heights, American Rejects and sundry "screamers". We have to listen because, even though people have to speak up for me to hear them now, I'm not yet quite deaf enough to not hear her stereo when she plays it loud enough in her bedroom so she can hear it while she takes a shower. But that's not the point. DCfC... they remind me of Sgt. Pepper/White Album era Beatles. In fact, the lead singer sounds like John Lennon on a couple songs. But the fact that I like their more mellow "sound" and orchestration isn't the point either. I like their lyrics. While no one yet touches Simon and Garfunkel for existential lyrics, these guys have a depth and eye on humanity that is worth paying attention to. This is one of my favorite songs, solo guitar, one voice. The video is here.

"I Will Follow You Into The Dark"

Love of mine some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
"Son fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It's nothing to cry about
Cause we'll hold each other soon
The blackest of rooms

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark


Actually, the song touches what all the great love songs have in common: they are a reflection of the Divine Romance, the Gospel. This is why they continue, as the ones that have reached into my heart and soul for 40 years, to touch people who are alive to the possibility of love and eternal union with their beloved. We intuitively know that death divides, the darkness of Hades is the loss of unity, the obscuring of our faces to one another, the breaking of our hearts. But we also know that in love Hades is destroyed, death is overcome, and death itself becomes the way we are united forever to our beloved because beyond death there is only eternity. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear" St. John says in his epistle. If we love, we will follow our beloved into the dark because we know no fear, not even of hell itself. This is the Gospel: God knows we die. We are His beloved and He comes to our side, holds our hand in His, He follows us into the darkest places of our human experience and then into death. He died alone so we will not. When our soul embarks, He is there and follows us into Hades to raise us up eternally with Himself because of Love. We know deep inside us that what Solomon said is true, "Love is as strong as death..."

Death Cab for Cutie and countless poets before them have touched the gospel within us. We will die for the sake of our beloved if it means an eternity together in love. What more can we do for our beloved than what Christ has done for us?

15 comments:

emily said...

Oooh, one of my favorites too. Love reading your thoughts on it...

Kenzy said...

You did really well at explaining that!!! :D haha...and i don't play it so loud i can hear it while i'm taking a shower. that's just how i play it all the time...so...there.lol.

Marty said...

Yes...Death Cab for Cutie - I love them - I used one of their songs as a thought-jerker for my blog too.

http://lifeingrace.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_archive.html

Mimi said...

They are pretty local to where I live, so I've heard a lot of them.

I've been really resisting this song because of the anti-Catholic line, but your spin is really a good point, and I do appreciate it. My non-relious husband really likes it, so I need to relisten to it.

s-p said...

Actually a lot of their lyrics are pretty thoughtful and philosophical. The "anti-Catholic" line is actually part of the entire rejection of "Typical Western religious experiences" in the song.
"No blinding light, no tunnels to gates of white", "Heaven and hell illuminate the NO on the vacancy sign..." etc. The essence of the lyrics is the hope that love binds us beyond the grave, and death is the door to eternal union. There is no sure theology or worked out philosophy here, just the innate suspicion that death is not to be feared but is embraced if we face it with our beloved. It does not take a theologian to know that, only the experience of love. The problem is that instead of acknowledging that suspicion and affirming it with the Gospel, which is the Divine Romance of God who comes to join us, His beloved, in death, conquers everything that can separate us from Himself, so that He can be united with us eternally...modern Christianity has turned the Divine Romance of the Gospel into a courtroom and justice and guilt, judges, punishment and reward (which appeals to some people obviously...). We need to look at what "kids" are saying today when they react to what modern religion has given them as a foundation for believing in God and who Christ is and what He did. They have rejected a weak and shallow and cold gospel, we need to step up and show them the True God who loved us enough to do exactly what they are talking about here. To follow your beloved into the dark in hope against hope that love reigns eternal...They are "imitators of Christ" whether they know it or not. The problem is most Christians don't even know that, and that is why our "religion" doesn't make any sense to this generation. End of rant. :)

Mimi said...

Ok, see, you are really helping me with this as I've resisted it after I realized what the line was, but you are helping me to connect it not only to why my Dh likes it (he isn't religous) as well as the entire poetry of the song.

Thank you.

Did I mention they were local?

Anonymous said...

you may want to explore The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We believe that families can be together forever. That death just separates us for a small time. Beautiful

s-p said...

You may want to explore the Orthodox Church. Click on "My Radio Show" in the links on my blog. Mormonism is just a lot of old heresies recycled. There is more to eternal union than even Joseph Smith imagined.

Anonymous said...

This song is not religious........ gg

s-p said...

No, it is not "religious", but it touches on what is "spiritual" in the heart of every human being whether they are "religious" or not. It is about what the human being longs for whether they know it or not, an eternal love that surpasses even death. That is the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, except that most Christians don't even get it.
sigh....

Anonymous said...

Fr Thomas Hopko reminds us that Christianity (specifically Orthodox Christianity) is not a religion anyway -- it is a conviction about a person: Jesus Christ. We have rather different convictions about this person than the Mormons do! And being in Him we do not need to fear lyrics or reject them because they are not packaged as 'religious' or 'inspirational' or whatever. We are allowed to use our God-given minds to discern, as Steve has done, the good and truth in anything that is out there -- it all comes from human experience, and isofar as it is honest and reaching for light, there is going to be good in it. The problem with this 'it's not religious'thing is that it confuses art with propaganda.

Jenny said...

Oops! I didn't mean to post as anonymous above -- this is Jenny
:-)

Anonymous said...

I really love DCfC, however, sometimes I have a problem listening to them because the lead singer says some things that bother me. Listen to St. Peter's Cathedral on the Codes and Keys CD. I will follow you into the dark reveals his past with religion, but St. Peter's Cathederal really reveals what he thinks of God. It is songs like that that worry me because young people can sometimes be impressionable.

Anonymous said...

Idiot. Quote below from Relevant Mag:
Another lyrical subject Gibbard has touched on in the past is what he refers to as his “not disbelief but certainly agnostic position on spirituality.” He is surprised at the notion that Death Cab has many Christian fans. “The closest we got to any understanding that we had a Christian fan base was when we toured with Pedro The Lion about eight years ago,” he recalls. “A couple of people would come up to us and say, ‘It’s so great there’s another Christian band touring with Pedro,’ and we’d go, ‘We’re not a Christian band.’”

s-p said...

Anon, I never called them a "Christian band". The song touches on a universal existential issue that Christianity and all world religions and philosophies deal with. "Idiot"?
Go back to high school and learn to read critically.