Codes and Keys Music Poster Image

Codes and Keys



Clean, positive album from alt-rock darlings.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some uplifting messages about having a positive outlook on life, even as you reach your twilight years.

Positive role models

Lyrics encourage listeners to see the good in situations and value the people they love.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Codes and Keys is a very clean, fairly positive album -- especially for the alt-rock genre, which can tend toward melancholy. The lyrics contain no questionable language or adult references to substances, sex, or violence, revolving instead around keeping perspective on the good people and things in your life. It's a great choice for younger alt-rock fans.

Parents say

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What's the story?

CODES AND KEYS is the seventh full-length record from Death Cab for Cutie, the alt-rock band that shot to big-name fame when they contributed a song to the The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack. The album features eleven songs that lack adult language or content like sex, drug and alcohol use, and violence; instead, the clean lyrics center on feel-good things like being in love and continuing to have fun all through your life: "Life is sweet in the belly of the beast / And with her song in your heart it can never bring you down / 'Cause when she sings I hear a symphony / And I'm swallowed in sound as it echoes through me / And I'm moved, oh how I feel alive / And through winters advancing we'll stay young go dancing." The record is a solid option for younger tweens who love alt-rock.

Is it any good?


Codes and Keys has some exceptional moments, such as the piano arrangement backing the band's collective harmonies in the track "Unobstructed Views," and the infectious crescendo in "Portable Television." Overall, the album is another example of why this alt-rock band is becoming more mainstream.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how bands like Death Cab for Cutie can be so popular -- they were chosen to contribute a song to the The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack -- and still keep their music free of mature content. What qualities of their songs do you think have brought them success?

  • Which other bands do you think could learn good lessons from Death Cab? What lessons might they learn?

Music details

Artist:Death Cab for Cutie
Release date:June 10, 2011
Genre:Alternative Rock
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

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Kid, 10 years old February 22, 2015

Alternative rock band's got soul

Death Cab for Cutie is one of my favorites! Even though I haven't heard many of their songs, they are poetic and skillful, with very mild references to drinking and violence. Listen to one song, and you'll fall in love.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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