The Joup Friday Album: The Postal Service – Give Up

The Postal Service - Give Up

The Postal Service – Give Up (Sub Pop)

I really thought someone would have already chosen this record for a previous edition of The Joup Friday Album. However, a quick search for “The Postal Service” in the search bar in the upper right column came back with nothing… so here you have it: The Joup Friday album comes from various parts of the world; The Postal Service’s only full length release on Sub Pop Records, entitled “Give Up.”

As the story goes Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) had collaborated on a Tamborello track from his project Dntel. It sold and was well received so they decided to continue. But with distance and conflicting schedules the two artists resorted to mailing tracks back and forth from LA to Seattle and edited as they went. An absolute novelty today. The final product is “Give Up” and thus the name The Postal Service.

It’s a bit boggling to think that this album was release 14 years ago. I could match “Give Up” against any current IDM album or electronic album for that matter and it would compare quite well, if not outperform. There are reasons for that, the first being it’s good music. LOL. I know that’s trite and probably not too descriptive, but frankly it is. Dynamic song structure, various timbres and tonality, and astute lyrics. Again the term I like to use “Smart Pop.”

Before I get to the album, check out this bit Jimmy and Ben did for Funny or Die in 2013 (to celebrate their 10 year reunion). It features Anime Mann, Duff and Weird Al. It’s worth it for the laugh especially if you are an IDM fan.

I feel what Tamborello does well in music is establishing motif. From the opening synth of “District Sleeps Alone Tonight” to the final shwoosh cymbal at the end of “Natural Anthem,” there lies a cohesive element of continuity. There are highs and lows and recurring themes, but really that’s what you want in a good album. In any piece of music.

Jenny Lewis added backing vocals on a majority of tracks usually in a call and response format. Like in the standout (and my favorite) track Clark Gable. The stanza of the album from Gibbard:

I know you’re wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the fear
That your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by?

Yes 14 years now…but like a good film noir somehow timeless. That I’ll never give up…
I think i need to tag someone…Sonny?

Joe Grez

Joe Grez

Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is still an artist developer trying to keep up with new technologies. Photography still has been one of his strongest passions. However, now his main focus has led him back to music where he teaches guitar, piano, saxophone and percussion privately. Music education can never be short changed.

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