Ben Gibbard writes and sings recognizable songs as the lead singer of longtime pop stars Death Cab for Cutie. But the first single off the Seattle band’s new album is about how unrecognizable things have become in the city where the band made its name.
“Gold Rush,” off the album “Thank You for Today” (out Aug. 17), is a familiar tune for anyone who has witnessed what Seattle is going through. Gibbard sings about wrecking balls, lost haunts, constructions sites and condos.
“Oh, how I feel like a stranger here, Searching for something that’s disappeared.
“They’re digging for gold in my neighborhood, For what they say is the greater good.
“But all I see is a long goodbye, A requiem for a skyline.”
Originally from Bellingham, Wash., Death Cab has released eight previous studio albums. In an interview with NPR’s Bob Boilen, Gibbard discussed the inspiration for “Gold Rush.”
“Seattle has been transformed into an almost unrecognizable city over the past 15 to 20 years with the tech boom and specifically with the rise of Amazon and all the other carpet-bagging tech firms that have moved into town to kind of pilfer employees off of Amazon,” Gibbard said. “My neighborhood of Capitol Hill, which I’ve lived in for the better part of the last 20 years, has undergone some really rapid changes, both in the landscape itself — the buildings going up and coming down — but also the cultural landscape has changed, as well.
“For me what has been the most painful is just seeing the displacement of both people of color and creative communities from not only this neighborhood but the city.”
In the video for “Gold Rush,” Gibbard is seen walking down the street, observing a colorful assortment of folks before he eventually runs up against a sea of smartphone users. Spinning on the crowded sidewalk, he can no longer move against the rising tide.
“Artists and musicians are holding on as well as they can, but it seems like it’s somewhat of a losing battle,” Gibbard told Boilen.