Music Review – Give Up: a Decade in Review

It stands to reason that if an album is deemed to be good in one decade, that it can move up to excellent if it makes it to the next and retains its original character. “Give Up” by the depressingly short-lived indie electronica group The Postal Service is up for a decade review after it hit its tenth birthday this past summer. In a time before dubstep, the album was charming and quirky, it played with the listener like a puppy just learning to play catch. Every song it brought up was new and original and slightly different from the last. While it may not have been exactly mainstream, the album was perfect in 2003. So the question is, does the album hold up in the decidedly more pensive and pessimistic era of 2013? Upon relisten, each song is still factory fresh.

A good start is to listen to the whole album track by track. While there is no true order, the album follows a logical progression through love and loss and back to love again. There are parts of the album that are wonderful and contemplative and there are light and airy songs that carry as much weight as cotton candy. For those with less time than needed, a good start is with “Such Great Heights.” While it is probably the only song on the album to have garnered much attention, a lot of time has passed since it was on the airwaves and it is both a fantastically cliché love song and empowering at the same time. “Nothing Better” serves as a blast of cold water after the chipper lovey-dovey beginning, it exists in that strange subset of songs that can be labeled as upbeat break up songs. “Clark Gable” represents the most upbeat attitude of the album and is still worthy of being a secret favorite.

Instead of finishing off the album, it is worth exploring the other tracks that have been released since the album came out. Both “Turn Around” and “A Tattered Line of String” represent the newer aspects of The Postal Service, and in all honesty, unless someone is going for some discography completionist achievement, they should be ignored. Both fall flat compared to the earlier releases. Much better are “Be Still My Heart” and the cover of the Flaming Lips song “Suddenly Everything Has Changed.” The former is arguably the best track The Postal Service released. It is stupidly romantic in the sort of way that no matter how much crap is going on, it brings back the emotion of falling in love, which is the best feeling in the world aside from finding an endless trail of perfect cookies.

So back to the question, has the album retained its charm over the past decade? Conclusively the answer should be yes. The second question of whether or not the 10th Anniversary edition is worth it is answered by saying no. For a collector it is necessary, but for the average listener, there are a host of new LPs that cater to the need for good music.

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