You Are A Tourist

Album: Codes and Keys (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the first single by American indie rock band Death Cab For Cutie, from their seventh studio album, titled Codes and Keys. The song premiered on Seattle radio station 107.7 The End on March 28, 2011.
  • The optimistic lyrics ("There's nothing to fear / Save the tears, save the tears") reflect frontman Ben Gibbard's happier state of mind after the gloomy, self-loathing material on Narrow Stairs. This is most likely down to his marriage to actress and musician Zooey Deschanel whom he wed in September 2009. Their union lasted just two years.
  • Despite being released as a lead single, the song was a late addition to the album. Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer told MTV News: "This song actually came in late during the recording process. I mean, we had a group of songs in the beginning that we were working on, and you never really know what your album's going to be at the start of a process, but we knew what songs we were going to start working on. Then [Ben] brought ['Tourist'] in later on in the process, and the fact that it went from being a song that we hadn't gone into the process knowing about ... to suddenly becoming a song that we immediately reacted to, that as soon as we recorded it, we just knew it was going to be the first song to release from this album. That was a fun development for us."
  • "Tourist" is one of the most poppy songs that Death Cab has recorded, making it different to most of the other material in the band's catalog. Gibbard told MTV News: "It's weird, there's not really a narrative in the song. I feel like the lyrics and the verses are kind of more, just, affirmations than anything else; they're not really deep thoughts. But I feel that there's a kind of particular narrative within the bridge that kind of ties everything together, and balances out the affirmations in the verse. And that's the thing I'm most fond of in the song, is that, you know, the verses are catchy and light - it's a pop song - but at the same time, there's a weight to it, that you kind of get in the bridge that kind of ties it all together."
  • Death Cab made history on April 5, 2011 when they became the first act to broadcast a live, scripted, single-take music video for the song on the Internet. The idea for the one-take clip came from Aaron Stewart-Ahn, who co-directed the 2008 video for "I Will Possess Your Heart." "Most of the time when you have an idea, somebody's already done it, and it really didn't seem like that was the case for this," said guitarist/keyboardist Chris Walla to Billboard magazine. "So we needed to move on it if we wanted to do it."
  • The original demo for the song featured a sample from OMD's 1983 album Dazzle Ships on the hook.

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