We’ve always been pretty jealous of Ben Gibbard; he’s released eight successful albums as the frontman of Death Cab for Cutie, seen success with the Postal Service and his solo material and is married to ultimate indie chick Zooey Deschanel. And it’s hard to fault him for any of that, since he also comes off as sweet, thoughtful and reserved both in his songwriting and during interviews. But on the upcoming Codes and Keys, Gibbard changes things up with “Some Boys”—the quiet, indie rock equivalent of a diss track.
While he doesn’t explicitly call out anyone in particular, it isn’t hard to imagine some of the bands he could be referring to when he sings that some boys are “making a killing at the top of the billing/It’s their role and that’s all that they know.” He clarifies his criticisms in the second stanza, calling out a few specific character flaws: “But some boys don’t listen, some boys don’t listen at all/They don’t ask for permission, they lack inhibitions/No walls and they get what they want.” Even cavalier sexual attitudes are brought under fire, as Gibbard points out that they’ll be “singing the blues” after “Joylessly flinging with the girls that they’re bringing to their rooms.”
Sounds kind of like getting reprimanded by your dad, doesn’t it? The whole song oozes with that feeling of, “we’re not mad, we’re just disappointed in you.” (Although now that Gibbard’s a married man who’s no longer allowed to be “flinging,” maybe there’s also a tiny bit of jealousy pervading these lyrics.) But either way, he makes it clear that after a while there’s nothing fun about being an asshole and taking part in empty flings. “Some boys are sleeping alone/Because there’s no one that’s keeping them warm through the evening/And they know that they’re on their own.”
Of course, it’s also possible that Gibbard and co. could be referring to younger versions of themselves. After all, two Death Cabbers—Gibbard and bassist Nick Harmer—got married as the band was working on this release. But with the ominous closing line, “They won’t get what they want,” we don’t think that’s the case. As the band gears up for one of the most highly-anticipated releases of the year, it would appear that they have almost everything that they want.
Give “Some Boys” a listen below, and be sure to check out Codes and Keys—out on Tuesday (5/31)!
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