Give Up

Give Up
Give Up
Studio album by The Postal Service
Released February 19, 2003
Recorded December 2001 and 2002 at Dying Songs, Los Angeles and Computerworld, Seattle
Genre Electropop, indietronica, indie pop
Length 44:59
Label Sub Pop
Producer Jimmy Tamborello, Chris Walla
Singles from Give Up
  1. "Such Great Heights"
    Released: January 2003
  2. "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"
    Released: July 2003
  3. "We Will Become Silhouettes"
    Released: February 2005

Give Up is the debut album by electronic pop duo The Postal Service. Released on February 19, 2003, it was the second Sub Pop Records release to receive gold certification, and was Sub Pop's best selling album since Nirvana's Bleach.[1] The album peaked at #114 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and sold over 1,000,000 copies.

The band began as a side project between electronic music artist Jimmy Tamborello and Death Cab for Cutie's vocalist Ben Gibbard. They had previously worked together for a track on Dntel's album Life Is Full of Possibilities.

The album was generally well received, and critics commented on its throwbacks to the eighties New Wave genre.


Background and recording

Ben Gibbard, left, and Jimmy Tamborello, right.

The Postal Service's two members – Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and electronic music artist Jimmy Tamborello – had previously collaborated on "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" before deciding to record a full length album together.[2] The two worked on the album separately; in December 2001, Tamborello sent a CD-R of electronic music to Gibbard, who added melodies and wrote lyrics. He then added drums, guitar and keyboards at Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla's recording studio and sent the CD back to Tamborello. This process of mailing each other their work on the album continued; after ten months and two trips by Gibbard to Los Angeles to record vocals, the album was completed.[3] They called themselves "The Postal Service" because of this method of trading ideas.[4] Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis provided backup vocals after being cold called by Gibbard, who knew her when Rilo Kiley was on the same label as Death Cab for Cutie.[2]

Release and tour

Give Up was released February 19, 2003 on Sub Pop in the U.S. It was awarded a gold certification on March 10, 2005, the second Sub Pop record ever to do so.[5] It was later released in the UK on April 23, 2003.[6] As of December 2007, it has sold over 900,000 copies.[1]

The album led to three singles; "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight", "Such Great Heights" and "We Will Become Silhouettes", of which only "We Will Become Silhouettes" charted, reaching 82 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7]

In January 2006, Apple released an advertisement for the iMac that was said to be very similar to The Postal Service's video for "Such Great Heights".[8] Some created videos that played the advertisement and the music video side by side to make the resemblance clear.[9] It was later revealed that the advertisement had been created by the filmmakers who had made the music video. Ben Gibbard said on the band's website:

It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers' new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for 'Such Great Heights' made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent.[10]

The band did not take legal action, but Tamborello later stated in an interview that they "got a little bit of compensation from them for it" in the form of "attention from iTunes and stuff like that".[11]

The United States Postal Service served the band with a cease and desist letter citing tarnishing and dilution of their trademark. The band initially considered renaming themselves, but eventually came to a settlement that involved the band playing at a conference and the sale of the album in the USPS online store.[12] Tamborello later said of their conference performance:

It was really weird. When we found out we had to do it, it was really depressing, and it kind of freaked me out. I already don't like flying, and flying to play a show for people who probably aren't going to care – we only played two songs – it just seemed like a crazy trip. But then when we did it, and it ended up being kind of fun.[11]

The band toured the U.S. from April to August 2003, including Jenny Lewis in the line-up for all but one of the performances. Lewis provided vocals as well as guitar and keyboards. In the sole performance that Lewis missed, a festival in Spain, friend Joan Hiller sang and Chris Walla played her guitar and keyboard parts.[13] Death Cab for Cutie bassist Nick Harmer was in charge of the tour's visuals.[2] Tamborello later said in an interview that Gibbard had been nervous about touring, as the audience may have been bored by what they saw as "a guy with a computer onstage". This was partly the motivation for using visual effects such as videos and lights, which included small films for each song.[2][11]

Lyrics and composition

The album primarily deals with themes of love, as well as fame, history, and friendship.[6] "Clark Gable" is about Gibbard making home movies with an ex and "Nothing Better" is a duet between a couple about to break up.[14] Allmusic's Heather Phares compared "Nothing Better" to The Human League's "Don't You Want Me?" and Gibbard later confirmed that "Don't You Want Me?" was the inspiration for the song.[3][15] Gibbard said that "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight", "Brand New Colony" and "This Place Is a Prison" were the only songs that bordered on autobiographical.[3] He went on to say that "Such Great Heights" was the only song he had ever written that was positive about love.[3]

Critics compared it to the eighties synth and New Wave genres.[6][14][15] Pitchfork Media's Matt LeMay and Phares both commented on the contrasts between the "cool, clean synths" and Gibbard's vocal melodies.[15][16] Phares went on to liken "This Place Is a Prison" to Björk's recent works.[15] Death Cab for Cutie had previously covered Björk's "All Is Full of Love" on their The Stability EP.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 79 [17]
Review scores
Source Rating
Popmatters favorable[18]
Robert Christgau (A−) [19]
Pitchfork Media (8.0/10.0) [20]
NME (8/10)[21]
Stylus Magazine (B) [22]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [23]
The Tune (A) [24]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [25]

Critics were generally positive about the album. LeMay gave it a rating of 8 out of 10, calling it "a pretty damned strong record, and one with enough transcendent moments to forgive it its few substandard tracks and ungodly lyrical blunders".[16] Both LeMay and Pop Matters's Devon Powers commented on the "clichéd", "cringe-worthy" lyrics of "Sleeping In".[6][16] Michaelangelo Matos of Rolling Stone said it was "a cuddly little new wave reverie", giving it 4 out of 5 stars.[14] Phares said that whilst the album was good, it did not measure up to either Gibbard or Tamborello's main projects.[15] Online music magazine Pitchfork Media placed Give Up at number 104 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s.[26]

Track listing

All tracks by The Postal Service.

  1. "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" – 4:44
  2. "Such Great Heights" – 4:26
  3. "Sleeping In" – 4:21
  4. "Nothing Better" (featuring Jen Wood) – 3:46
  5. "Recycled Air" – 4:29
  6. "Clark Gable" – 4:54
  7. "We Will Become Silhouettes" – 5:00
  8. "This Place Is a Prison" – 3:54
  9. "Brand New Colony" – 4:12
  10. "Natural Anthem" – 5:07

Bonus vinyl disc

The vinyl version of Give Up was released on November 9, 2004. It came with a bonus 12" of B-sides, covers and remixes:

  1. "There's Never Enough Time"
  2. "We Will Become Silhouettes" (Performed by The Shins)
  3. "Such Great Heights" (Performed by Iron & Wine)
  4. "Suddenly Everything Has Changed" (The Flaming Lips cover)
  5. "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" (DJ Downfall Persistent Beat Mix)
  6. "Such Great Heights" (John Tejada Remix)
  7. "Nothing Better" (Styrofoam Remix)

The material found on the bonus disc is also found on the Such Great Heights EP and the The District Sleeps Alone Tonight EP. .

Chart positions


Billboard 200 Top Heatseekers Top Independent Albums Top Electronic Albums
114 1 3 1


Single Billboard Hot 100[7]
"We Will Become Silhouettes" 82


  • Benjamin Gibbard – lead vocals, lyrics, guitar, keyboard, drums.
  • Jimmy Tamborello – programming, accordion, keyboard, electric piano, electric drums, production, glitching.
  • Chris Walla – piano, production.
  • Jenny Lewis – backing vocals, keyboard.
  • Jen Wood – backing vocals.


  1. ^ a b "Aging album maintains high sales". The Badger Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d Tim McMahan. "The Postal Service: Special Delivery". Lazy-I. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The Postal Service". Sub Pop. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  4. ^ "The Postal Service". MTV. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  5. ^ "RIAA searchable database". RIAA. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  6. ^ a b c d "The Postal Service - Give Up". Pop Matters. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  7. ^ a b c "The Postal Service Billboard Album Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  8. ^ "Apple's ad sinks to such great lows". Engadget. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  9. ^ "Apple's TV ad's are a rip-off of Postal Service video". BoingBoing. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  10. ^ "Postal Service Accuse Apple of Plagiarism". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  11. ^ a b c Dave Maher. "Interview: Jimmy Tamborello". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  12. ^ Richard H. Levey. "Loose Cannon: The Postal Service and the Letter of the Law". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  13. ^ Jenny Lewis. "The Postal Service gigography". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  14. ^ a b c Michaelangelo Matos. "The Postal Service - Give Up". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Heather Phares. "Give Up review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  16. ^ a b c Matt LeMay. "The Postal Service - Give Up". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  17. ^ Give Up at Metacritic Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  18. ^ Popmatters Review
  19. ^ Robert Christgau Review
  20. ^ Pitchfork Media Review
  21. ^ New Musical Express. 3 May 2003
  22. ^ Stylus Magazine Review
  23. ^ Allmusic Review
  24. ^ The Tune Review
  25. ^ Rolling Stone Review Archived January 30, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Give — (g[i^]v), v. t. [imp. {Gave} (g[=a]v); p. p. {Given} (g[i^]v n); p. pr. & vb. n. {Giving}.] [OE. given, yiven, yeven, AS. gifan, giefan; akin to D. geven, OS. ge[eth]an, OHG. geban, G. geben, Icel. gefa, Sw. gifva, Dan. give, Goth. giban. Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • give — [giv] vt. gave, given, giving [ME given (with g < ON gefa, to give), yeven < OE giefan, akin to Ger geben < IE base * ghabh , to grasp, take > L habere, to have: the special Gmc sense of this base results from its use as a substitute… …   English World dictionary

  • Give in to Me — Single par Michael Jackson extrait de l’album Dangerous Face A Give In to Me (5:28) Face B Dirty Diana (4:52) Beat It (4:17) Sortie 15 février  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • give — ► VERB (past gave; past part. given) 1) freely transfer the possession of; cause to receive or have. 2) yield as a product or result. 3) carry out (an action). 4) cause to experience or suffer. 5) state or put forward (information or argument) …   English terms dictionary

  • Give — Give, v. i. 1. To give a gift or gifts. [1913 Webster] 2. To yield to force or pressure; to relax; to become less rigid; as, the earth gives under the feet. [1913 Webster] 3. To become soft or moist. [Obs.] Bacon . [1913 Webster] 4. To move; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Give it to Me — «Give It To Me» Sencillo de Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado y Justin Timberlake del álbum Shock Value Formato Descarga digital, CD, sencillo de 12 Grabación 2006 Género(s) Pop Rap …   Wikipedia Español

  • Give It To Me — ist ein Lied des US amerikanischen Produzenten Timbaland, in Zusammenarbeit mit Nelly Furtado und Justin Timberlake. Produziert wurde der Song für Timbalands zweites Studio Album Timbaland Presents Shock Value, das im April 2007 erschien.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Give It to Me — ist ein Lied des US amerikanischen Produzenten Timbaland, in Zusammenarbeit mit Nelly Furtado und Justin Timberlake. Produziert wurde der Song für Timbalands zweites Studio Album Timbaland Presents Shock Value, das im April 2007 erschien.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • give — vt gave, giv·en, giv·ing 1 a: to make a gift of I give the remainder of my estate to my wife compare convey, sell b: to grant or bestow by formal action the law give s …   Law dictionary

  • Give It 2 Me — Give It to Me Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Give It to Me ou Give It 2 Me (de l anglais signifiant littéralement « Donne le moi ») peut faire référence à : Give It to Me …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Give It To Me — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Give It to Me ou Give It 2 Me (de l anglais signifiant littéralement « Donne le moi ») peut faire référence à : Give It to Me, une chanson… …   Wikipédia en Français