Growing up is hard. Even harder still is listening to music that makes you relive what you miss from your youth. Every time Ben Gibbard sings “And this is all that’s left” it’s like a stab to my heart. It’s the realization that even though we’ll carry those youthful memories forever, we’ll never have a chance to go back and enjoy them again. And then there’s the music, capturing the jubilance of summertime so effortlessly with poignant vocals, a simple melody and upbeat drums. He’s picking apart my life and it’s devastating.
“Photobooth” was arguably the highlight of Death Cab’s first EP, The Forbidden Love EP, and highlights what fans came to love about the band. Lyrically, it reads as a love letter to hanging out with friends before responsibility and work got in the way. Musically, it has a pop sensibility that helps to move the narrative along, while leaving room for the chorus to accent the yearning for those days long gone. The song’s effectiveness comes from it’s relatability; at some point in time, the summer will end and everyone has to pack their bags and move on.
I’m linking to a live version of the song from 2001, as well as an acoustic video live at KCRW. Both are equally great, and I actually prefer them to the studio version.