AOTY 2019

Codes and Keys

Death Cab For Cutie - Codes and Keys
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2011 Ratings: #626 / 920
User Score
Based on 92 ratings
2011 Ratings: #253
May 31, 2011 / Release Date
LP / Format
Atlantic / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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Tt’s a good one with great moments from a band that’s clearly getting better with age.

Beats Per Minute

While all the pieces for a good, if not great, album seem to be in place, the complete puzzle is frayed on the edges and lacks binding to hold it all together.

Consequence of Sound

Codes and Keys won’t change your life or talk you through tough times, but it’s a nice soundtrack to a summer drive.

Drowned in Sound

Despite an abundance of textures Codes and Keys seems somehow sparse, empty calories around a hollow centre.

No Ripcord

It might be a little dull at times, but it’s got plenty of sneakily catchy vocal melodies and features a band that still has growth left in them.


For a band so identified with exploring feelings and the details of relationships, the record comes off as chilly, diffident, and emotionally distant.

Favs » Doors Unlocked And Open and Underneath The Sycamore.
Recently, Ben Gibbard stated that "Codes and Keys" is his least favorite Death Cab for Cutie record, stating that he tried playing guitar in a different way on this one, and also blaming his move from Seattle to California. But let's be honest: he doesn't like this album because it's largely about Zooey Deschanel.

Even when "Codes and Keys" is attempting to be dour, it still has a happy lean to it that makes so many of these songs disposable. In my reviews of Death Cab ... read more
Tom Simmons
Fav Tracks: Stay Young Go Dancing, Home Is A Fire, You Are A Tourist

Least Fav Track: Unobstructed Views
Stand-Out Tracks:
- Codes and Keys
- Portable television
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Year End Lists

#15/Under the Radar


#17/NPR Listeners

Track List

  1. Home Is A Fire
  2. Codes And Keys
  3. Some Boys
  4. Doors Unlocked And Open
  5. You Are A Tourist
  6. Unobstructed Views
  7. Monday Morning
  8. Portable Television
  9. Underneath The Sycamore
  10. St “Peter’s Cathedral
  11. Stay Young, Go Dancing
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