Grapevine Fires

Album: Narrow Stairs (2008)
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Songfacts®:

  • Frontman Ben Gibbard explained this track to VH1 News, which is centered around the 2007 wildfires that raged in California: "I was in LA, after we were there for the Grammys or something like that and I decided to stay a couple more days. I ended up with a couple friends of mine, Jonathan Rice and our friend Autumn de Wilde who's a great photographer, and her daughter. It's a very literal story. We were having some wine and having a picnic on top of this big cascading hill with the ocean off in the distance, and at the time there were a lot of fears about these fires creeping down from the grapevine. This was a very real moment, just seeing her daughter, playing in this cemetery. It struck me as this really powerful image of a child playing in a cemetery, not having any understanding of what this area means. It was a really interesting example of youth having a way with death."
  • The song's animated music video features the Death Cab band members making a cartoon cameo in the background loading a van as wildfires approach. Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer who handles the "visual stuff" for the band, explained to MTV News: "I'm a huge comic book fan, so there was that. Plus, in my head, I couldn't see any kind of live-action video that wouldn't come off as heavy-handed or overwrought. So we knew what we didn't want it to be. Plus, we knew we should do a cameo, which meant we'd get to be animated, so that was a bonus."
  • The animated clip was shown at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival where it won Audience Award for Best Music Video.

Comments: 1

  • Heather from Los Angeles, CaThis is a touching song about an event I lived through. The fires in SoCal last summer burned up a lot. A lot of land and a lot of houses. Many songs don't bother dealing with day-to-day reality. But this one surely does; and it's a very poignant reminder of the way it felt.
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