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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Give Up

The Postal Service

2003

Give Up
Album Summary

This album has been submitted by a user and is not included in any edition of the book.

Give Up is the only studio album by American electronic duo The Postal Service, released on February 18, 2003, by Sub Pop Records. The Postal Service was a collaboration between singer-songwriter Ben Gibbard, best-known for his work with indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, and musician Jimmy Tamborello, who also records under the name Dntel. Gibbard rose to prominence in the early 2000s as frontman of Death Cab, while Tamborello gained a cult following as a pioneer of contemporary glitch music and electronica. The two first collaborated with the song "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan", for Dntel's debut LP, Life Is Full of Possibilities (2001). The album is a long-distance collaboration between Gibbard, who lived in Seattle, Washington, and Tamborello, who resided in Los Angeles, California. The duo named the project for their working method: the pair would send demos on burned CD-R's through the mail, adding elements until songs were complete. The LP's sound contrasts manipulated samples and keyboards with live guitar and drums—a sound some have described as "indietronica". Tamborello was responsible for the programming, while Gibbard wrote lyrics, provided vocals, and contributed additional instrumentation. Give Up also features guest appearances from vocalists Jen Wood and Jenny Lewis, as well as musician Chris Walla. Give Up was released with little promotion—its creators embarked on a brief tour, but otherwise returned to their main projects. Despite this, the album grew in popularity steadily in the ensuing years, bolstered by the singles "Such Great Heights" and "We Will Become Silhouettes". By the end of its first decade, it had sold 1.2 million copies in the U.S., making it Sub Pop's second-biggest selling album in its history. It also courted a trademark battle with the United States Postal Service and a dispute with Apple. Despite its popularity, Give Up stands as the duo's only studio album. In 2013, the group briefly reunited for an anniversary tour and reissue of the album.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.51

Votes

75

Genres

  • Rock
  • Indie
  • Electronica

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Reviews

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Sat Sep 30 2023
5

One of the greatest albums of all time. A perfect mix of electronic and indie made completely by sending burned CD-Rs in the mail across the west coast of the US between Dntel and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie). This album IS my college years and I probably listened to this album a few times per week for nearly 4 years. "Natural Anthem" is chaotic beauty. "Nothing Better" is a heart breaking break-up song between 2 people who used to love each other, but now unrequited by the female narrator. "Sleeping In" is my favorite song on the album; a song about dreaming and here in Texas, we can swim any day in November. "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" and "Such Great Heights" are pop classics. If you like this, I recommend listening to the 10th Anniversary Edition from 2013; it has a great collection of extra songs like "Be Still My Heart", a cover of John Lennon's "Grow Old With Me" and "Suddenly Everything Has Changed". Just a masterpiece. Instant 5/5; 6 out of 5, really.

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Tue Jan 09 2024
4

Heard about this one a lot and some of the songs but never actually sat and listened to through. It mostly lived up to the hype for me, musically engaging and lyrically interesting.

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Tue Sep 26 2023
3

Eh, not really my thing but I didn't hate it. The upbeat songs were alright. I don't mind mixing a bit of rock and electronica, but this didn't end up packing enough of a punch for me. 3/5.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
3

Even though I'm not especially enthusiastic about this album, I'd say it deserves a place on the list. It was an undeniable part of the indie landscape of the early 2000s.

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Tue Feb 06 2024
5

Yeah, this feels like a snub honestly.

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Tue Feb 06 2024
5

One of my favorite albums of all time. It pops, it bleeds watercolor, it is a synthesized masterpiece. If you didn't already add this one I just might have.

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Tue Mar 19 2024
5

This shouldn't have worked. Ben Gibbard, with his talent for catchy tunes and great vocal lines, doing his thing against a backtrack of bleeps and bloops and Super Mario style electronics. But it works. It really works! I remember the first time I head this album, shortly after it came out. I was immediately sucked into this nerdy-but-cool world. And I'm still there. Excellent record!

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Sun Jan 21 2024
4

Such Great Heights is a banger that the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to. Probably would have picked a Death Cab for Cutie album over this but not a bad rec. 7/10

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Wed Jan 24 2024
4

Hadn't listened to this album for a long time. Forgot how good it was. Thanks for suggesting.

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Tue Feb 06 2024
4

VRaiment bon, un bon vibe et tout, CA merite des bien cote. 4

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Tue Feb 06 2024
4

Death Cab for Cutie meets Air. What could go wrong? Nothing indeed

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Sun Feb 11 2024
4

The Postal Service takes me to a very specific emotion at a very specific time in my life and for that I can never evaluate it fairly. If I try to peel back my psychological tendrils and peer at the thing with fresh ears I may say that it overstays its welcome and honestly sounds a bit silly with how mopey it is. But I was once silly for mopey I was.

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Wed Feb 14 2024
4

The Postal Service represent a simple brand of highly-competent collaboration. Gibbard's voice holds the thing together and gives each single commercial cutting edge, while the soundscapes consistently widen the record. Feels like the trimming of the tracklist could have resulted in a different ordering. The blueprint for a delicate, less-jangly indie was dearly needed.

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Thu Mar 14 2024
4

DNTEL meets Ben Gibbard and good times ensue. This is a very nice album with some lovely electro-pop songs.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
3

This was all the rage in college for me. I suppose quite influential for indietronica but feels a bit hollow in retrospect.

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Sun Jan 21 2024
3

5/10. I can't deny that great heights is a great song, but most of this album felt a bit lackluster to me. Which, I suppose, is sort of the point of the indie aesthetic, but I guess I just like my music lustrous.

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Sat Feb 17 2024
3

I've listened to this before, and I like it overall. The songs are good and interesting, but I really dislike the inorganic sounding electronic aspects of the album. It makes the whole thing sound kind of droning and monotonous. 3 stars.

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Wed Feb 28 2024
3

Pretty straight-forward modern indie

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Fri Mar 01 2024
3

Very gloomy music, and the sound of Death Cab is never far away. Although I found this album a little more longwinding. Not exactly boring, but it could be better

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Thu Mar 07 2024
1

Who votes 5 stars for this whiney crap?

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Tue Mar 19 2024
3

I'm a big fan of Death Cab and the voice of Ben Gibbard. That's why I found it comfortable to listen to this album. Despite of this, the musical accompaniment is not really to my liking. Bu it is still Ben 😉

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Sat May 04 2024
3

Good synth dance music reminding a little 9f Hot Chip. Good.

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