You might think, given the live live video used to promote it (and all the preparation that went into pulling said video off), that Death Cab for Cutie had known for a very long time that “You Are a Tourist” would be the first single off their upcoming Codes and Keys album. But you’d be wrong.
“This song … actually came in late during the recording process,” DCFC bassist Nick Harmer told MTV News. “I mean, we had a group of songs in the beginning that we were working on, and you never really know what your album’s going to be at the start of a process, but we knew what songs we were going to start working on. Then [Ben] brought [’Tourist’] in later on in the process, and the fact that it went from being a song that we hadn’t gone into the process knowing about … to suddenly becoming a song that we immediately reacted to, that as soon as we recorded it, we just knew it was going to be the first song to release from this album. … That was a fun development for us.”
So from late addition to first single out of the gate, “Tourist” has certainly had an interesting life already. But that’s just part of what makes the song unique. Because, to hear frontman Ben Gibbard tell it, the song is also different from most in the DCFC catalog because it is, at its very core, just a very shiny pop tune.
“It’s weird, there’s not really a narrative in the song. … I feel like the lyrics and the verses are kind of more, just, affirmations than anything else; they’re not really deep thoughts,” Gibbard said. “But I feel that there’s a kind of particular narrative within the bridge that kind of ties everything together, and balances out the affirmations in the verse. And that’s the thing I’m most fond of in the song, is that, you know, the verses are catchy and light — it’s a pop song — but at the same time, there’s a weight to it, that you kind of get in the bridge that kind of ties it all together.”
What do you think of DCFC’s “You Are a Tourist”? Tell us in the comments!