When I was given a record player a when I was 17, Give Up was the first album I purchased using leftover Christmas money. At the request of a good friend at the time, I walked into an Urban Outfitters, pretended to know what i was doing, and bought it knowing only one song on it.
Since then I’ve learned to love almost every song on the album, and constantly go back to on rainy days.
Released in 2003, Give Up is first and only record ever created by The Postal Service, though the band has remixed songs for other bands, and even re-released the same album with bonus content in 2013. Consisting of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello, and Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley providing backup vocals, the band was mainly known for hit singles like the ever popular Such Great Heights, but the album is more than just one song.
Featuring eleven original songs, three covers, and three remixes the 2004 release of Give Up is one of my favorite albums in my collection, and one of the most played ones as well.
Starting off with The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, the band plays us immediately all we need to know about them. Synth beats play sharp in contrast to the often personal and melancholy lyrics making think for a moment that Ben Gibbard is not some kind of emotional leech that feeds on the sadness of twenty-something year olds (Ben Gibbard I love you, please ignore this).
District is followed by the hit single that was on everyone’s mix CD to their high school crush, Such Great Heights (which on the second record is covered Iron & Wine in case said crush broke your heart and you need to cry it out).
It’s after these first two songs that we get a great feel for the band. There’s that underlying sense of hope in the lyrics and the desire to be wanted. Even when singing about break ups in Clark Gable, which is the moment you begin to realize that Ben Gibbard is really sad all the time, there’s still a bit of hope there. Yes you’ve broken up but if even for the briefest of moments we can see each other again, If i could kiss you one more time then maybe it can work, it pleads.
Any band can sing about the hope of growing up and the feelings you have while looking for friends and love, nothing really hit me like Postal Service did. Maybe it was the fact that it was introduced to me by a good friend, or maybe it just hit me at the right time in my life, but this album still stands out to me. So kudos to you Postal Service. I’ll always remember my first record.