If ‘Watch The Throne’ Were Death Cab for Cutie and The National Instead…


Kanye West and Jay-Z’s ‘Watch the Throne’ is not the greatest album ever released (in case you were wondering), but it is still very, very good — especially considering the delicate balance of egos and artistry crucial to its success. Too much Kanye and the mental illness levels go THROUGH THE ROOF. Too much Jay-Z and you have, at this point, an overstuffed American Express commercial. But together they make it work! Which got the “What If?” team at Lifting Fog thinking: what does this album look like in the hands of another musical dynamic duo?

From Seattle, Washington, the emo-est band to have ever scored Seth Cohen’s teenage angst, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE!

And from Ohio — yes, OHIO! — the Baritone Bruisers, the Prozac Provocateurs: THE NATIONAL!


While Death Cab for Cutie and The National have, to my knowledge, nothing resembling a relationship, for the purposes of this post they’re the best of friends. And they’ve got some great ideas for their new collaboration! Like:

  • Subbing Queen B’s pipes on “Lift Off” for twee lead vocals from Zooey Deschanel, accompanied by a ukelele or harmonica or something.
  • No more rapping about models and champagne and Anchorman. Tracks 5-8 focus entirely on Moleskines.
  • Like ‘Ye and Hova, Ben Gibbard and Matt Berninger will perform a song (“New Day”) about their future children. But in this case their future daughters, not sons, who they’ll encourage to pursue careers in politics and public service and to not kowtow to male hegemony.
  • Cute nicknames for each other (“Bernie” and “Bennie”) that they drop frequently, until one song all about a summer spent cogitating in a musty hotel room pretty much turns listeners off from the idea entirely.
  • Otis who? The lead single, “Pull the Blinds,” features a beyond-the-grave assist from Elliot Smith.
  • Heavy-handed allusions to God, Christ, and the Holocaust will still be there, just more overt IF THAT’S EVEN POSSIBLE.
  • The album will be released in January, during a snowstorm. People will wait until April to buy it. If they can be bothered to get out of bed.
  • Generally a lot more songs that feel appropriate to do grave-rubbings to.

There are many great musical pairings out there waiting to happen, but this is obviously one of the best. Pitchfork, make it happen!

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