Anticipating Death Cab for Cutie’s album, Kintsugi, (released in March of 2015), the indie-rockers have released their lead single, “Black Sun,” and it is everything we have been hoping for and more. This was the first time, in about 17 years, that founding member Chris Walla, was not be part of Death Cab during their single and album release, when he decided to step away last year, of course leaving on a good note with the band. Now down to the trio, and with a successful new single, expectations for Death Cab’s new album could not be higher.
Lyrically, the song is a well-crafted masterpiece that exudes self-reflection, hope, and unable to find forgiveness, in an effortless display. Interestingly enough, and to raise the importance of, Ben Gibbard hand painted the lyrics of “Black Sun” onto a canvas and cut them into “thirty- three unique pieces,” as seen on their website, and featured in the “Black Sun” lyric video, for fans to examine closely. “There is fear in the eyes of your father / and there is ‘yours’ and there is ‘mine,'” are some of the lyrics that set the tone of the song. It automatically consumes, and gets the attention to hear for a resolution at the end. The heartfelt lyrics that sting, followed by Gibbard’s stern monotone, and downtempo vocals, are a perfect pairing. As always, in the way of Death Cab, “Black Sun,” is a darker ballad, and its prominent melancholy synths are beautiful, and a little bit different towards the end of the song, in comparison to previous sorrowful tunes Death Cab has produced.
Musically, by the chorus, the combination of synths, drums, and Gibbard pushing out these lyrics is the distinction and fresh sounds for Death Cab. “How could / something / so fair / be so cruel / when this / black sun / revolved / around you” is the bite of the song and is in constant repetition. By the third minute after the drenching chorus is pounded in one’s heart by the consistent beat of the drum, there is an unexpected guitar solo, which is crunchy and is as equal to the powerful words, which is something rarely heard by Death Cab and well appreciated. It switches back to the lyrics heard at the start of the song, then constantly repeats the chorus. This repetition and parallelism within the lyrics are seen as the inability to answer the rhetorical question, or even lack of comprehension of this downhill feeling that is occurring in the story. “And all of our debris flows to the ocean / to meet again I hope it will.”