Brand New Colony, The Postal Service, Give Up, 2003
The Postal Service is one of many side projects for Death Cab For Cutie’s frontman Ben Gibbard. The one Postal Service album has the melodic catchiness of Death Cab frosted with soothing electronic coolness. Gibbard and Death Cab, if you don’t know, got a dose of mainstream fame a few years ago when they got a plug on some tv series called The OC. They’ve become since then some of the top purveyors of Emo music. The term Emo means basically nothing, at this point. It’s short for emotional. Emo emerged as a genre as an alternative (but not Alternative) to soulless, mindless stadium pop. Emo is basically defined as any music with truthfull, heartfelt lyrical content. As opposed to chart topping music that is composed by focus groups, it’s supposed to be intensely personal and confessional. But that can include a wide variety of musical styles. So emo now ranges from Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst who sings lyrical paeans to lost love and damaged souls in a quavery voice, to straight up commercial rock bands like Fall Out Boy, and anything in between as long as it wears hoodies and guyliner. (Oberst does not wear guyliner, but he does have the tell-tale emo forelock.) It seems that Emo is as well defined as Alternative was in the 90s, which is, not at all. Take it or leave it, but nobody does it better than Ben Gibbard.