With ‘Gold Rush,’ Death Cab for Cutie Laments the Loss of Cities to Rapid Change

Posted on: August 16th, 2018 at 5:04 am by

Two months ago, Death Cab for Cutie released a single called “Gold Rush.” The catchy track, which revolves around a Yoko Ono sample, focuses on a subject matter that hits close to home – the effects of rapid change on a neighborhood.

Death Cab leadman, Ben Gibbard, confessed upon its release that he penned the composition based on the hyper-gentrification in his hometown of twenty years, the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill. Written as “a requiem for a skyline,” the song explores similar themes. “They’re digging for gold in my neighborhood,” it starts, then segues into talk of the “swinging of a wrecking ball”; or a kiss shared outside near a record store that’s “been condos for a year or more.”

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become acutely aware of how I connect my memories to my geography and [how] the landscape of the city changes,” Gibbard told NPR in a recent interview. “I’ll walk down Broadway and walk past a location that used to be a bar I’d frequent with friends, or somewhere where I had a beautifully intense conversation with somebody that I once loved very much.”

While “Gold Rush” is based on the city of Seattle, it could easily have been written about the vanishing Lower East Side.

Below are a few lyrical stanzas from “Gold Rush” which seem most appropriate. It appears on the LP, Thank You for Today, due out tomorrow via Atlantic Records.

They’re digging for gold in my neighborhood
Where all the old buildings stood
And they keep digging it down and down
So that their cars can live underground
The swinging of a wrecking ball
Through these lathe and plaster walls
Is letting all the shadows free
The ones I wished still followed me

I remember a winter’s night
When we kissed beneath the street lamp light
Outside our bar near the record store
That have been condos for a year or more
And now that our haunts have taken flight
And been replaced with construction sites
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
It seems I never stop losing you
As every dive becomes something new
And all our ghosts get swept away
It didn’t used to be this way

Change
(Be this way, be this way)
Please don’t change
Stay
(Be this way, be this way)
Stay the same

Cranes
(Be this way, be this way)
Devour the light
Strange
(Be this way, be this way)
Appetites

Recent Stories

Partybus Bakeshop Officially on Essex Street; Opens End of Month

The party bus is parked and ready to roll. The bakery, that is. Partybus Bakeshop is an artisanal bakery opening in the former Chinese seafood wholesaler at 31 Essex Street. Upon debut, expect a “rotating seasonal menu [of] classics including breads, pies, and cookies by using the best ingredients the north east has to offer.” […]

Mini Rex Sober Karaoke Still Missing in Action

Nearly three years later, the Mini Rex/Juicebox Heroes sober karaoke concept is still missing in action. The fall 2018 opening, and later, a targeted winter debut, did not pan out. Spring bloomed and summer sweltered and still no launch on Ludlow Street. Much of the delay, at least initially, was owed to outspoken area opposition […]

More on Yesterday’s Fatal Wall Collapse at Beth Hamedrash Hagadol

Yesterday morning, the surviving south tower of the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol wreckage site collapsed, killing one construction worker and seriously injuring another. “A worker who leaves for a job site in the morning deserves to come home safely every single night,” Mayor de Blasio wrote in his “thoughts and prayers” Tweet in the afternoon. It […]

Breaking: South Tower of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Collapses, Workers Trapped [Updated]

Shortly after 10am this morning, the surviving south tower of the burned-out Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue collapsed, trapping two workers beneath the rubble. The fire department quickly responded and rescued both from beneath the debris. EMS was also on scene to treat the workers, according to the blotter on the Citizen mobile app. Little is […]

MOSCOT Opens Los Angeles Store in First Ever US Expansion

For the first time in its 104-year history, MOSCOT is expanding its stateside footprint. Located on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, the newly opened annex is a “continuation of the brand’s rich history steeped in New York City tradition.” The building is sheathed in yellow and emblazoned with the iconic MOSCOT eyes while driving down […]