Narrow Stairs - Death Cab for Cutie
Narrow Stairs Image
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 73 Ratings

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  • Summary: The indie rockers' follow-up to their platinum album "Plans" features an eight-and-a-half-minute-long song.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Narrow Stairs finds Death Cab comfortable with all aspects of its musical personality--and on top of them all.
  2. The real reason narrow Stairs works so well is that despite the band's more esoteric experiments, they still contribute standalone pop hits. [June 2008, p.125]
  3. The songs here hit with a full-on assault of crunching guitar riffs, distorted, cracked vocals and walls of disorienting feedback, while lyrically, frontman Ben Gibbard visits the moodier and darker corners of his mind.
  4. On its own, it has some great moments, and it is a very good pop/rock record.
  5. 70
    Throughout Narrow Stairs, the band allows itself to open up, twisting and tinkering the same old style to their liking with mixed results. [Spring 2008, p.90]
  6. At times, the maturation feels forced; the more adventurous moments here are experimental only for such a high-profile group, and they don't play to Gibbard's sentimental, word-weighing strengths.
  7. Perhaps if there were more self-exploration and less chemical dependency on the old standby, heartbreak, Narrow Stairs wouldn't sound, to paraphrase the band, like settling.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28
  1. ae
    May 29, 2008
    10
    Joseph- no way. transantlantisism or photo album is their best. and Chad - such great heights is postal service, not death cab. Weirdfish - Joseph- no way. transantlantisism or photo album is their best. and Chad - such great heights is postal service, not death cab. Weirdfish - my god you insult me they are NOT emo... and Sam - if Cath is any song it is death of an interior decorator, not tiny vessels. Fools. Expand
  2. JosephP.
    May 13, 2008
    10
    A fantastic record from start to finish, it's Death Cab's best outting by far, and something distinct and interesting. Early A fantastic record from start to finish, it's Death Cab's best outting by far, and something distinct and interesting. Early contention for album of the year, IMO. Expand
  3. SpencerV
    Jun 5, 2008
    9
    I just don't get what critics want from this band. This is another Death Cab masterpiece.
  4. Weirdfish7
    May 16, 2008
    8
    Best Emo Band on the planet, and I know the word emo is insulting to a lot of fans, but these guys can play......and Gibbard knows how to Best Emo Band on the planet, and I know the word emo is insulting to a lot of fans, but these guys can play......and Gibbard knows how to write a song....8.5 actually.....I Will Possess Your Heart is their best song to date. Expand
  5. PercyH.
    May 18, 2008
    8
    Better than Plans, and on par with Transatlanticism. Most comparable to Transatlanticism and We Have the Facts. Highly recommended. Better than Plans, and on par with Transatlanticism. Most comparable to Transatlanticism and We Have the Facts. Highly recommended. Gibbard's lyricism is more to the point this time, but that turns out to not be a bad thing. The band takes a slightly less mainstream route with this album, but only when compared to their last two records. I think this is a better step forward than Plans. Expand
  6. JordanF.
    May 13, 2008
    7
    I would give this album either a 9 or 10 with unanimous accolades for each and every track, except for the horrendous error in judgment the I would give this album either a 9 or 10 with unanimous accolades for each and every track, except for the horrendous error in judgment the band used for 'Pity and Fear.' Honestly, how could this song make it through dozens of techinicians and musicians in the production chain? The song abruptly ends off beat at 4:21 with an obnoxious increase in volume followed by a downright annoying truncation of an otherwise fantastic, high-energy instrumental ending. Death Cab plugged this CD with some rather lofty and prideful statements, and track 10 on this release shows that pride in full extent. With Chris Walla at the helm of studio processes, there is no doubt in my mind that with this album, DCFC has forsaken their roots of indepedent music-making for self-centered and indifferent hateur towards what anybody thinks about their music, save for themselves. Expand
  7. LimeyQ.
    May 28, 2008
    2
    The most disappointing album of the year so far. Mediocre songs played clumsily with cheesy lyrics and bad arrangements. They sound like a The most disappointing album of the year so far. Mediocre songs played clumsily with cheesy lyrics and bad arrangements. They sound like a second rate Wilco at their worst. Expand

See all 28 User Reviews