Narrow Stairs

Music review by
Jessica Dawson, Common Sense Media
Narrow Stairs Music Poster Image
Melancholy indie rock for aching hearts.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Not bad, but very melancholy and pessimistic; disenchantment with life and its unmet expectations; lost hopes ("It's hard to stay awake/when everyone you need/they all seem to be asleep"); obsession, possession, and "stalking" ("You gotta spend some time with me/I know that you will find love/I will possess your heart").

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One mention of wine -- "we bought some wine and paper cups" -- but doesn't discuss drinking it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this band is known for their melancholy tunes and ballads, but the lyrics are fine for teens; just a lot of pessimism and disenchantment with life and love. There is one song about stalking ("I will possess your heart") dealing with obsessing over someone without realizing it's wrong. Overall, they sing about what many other indie rock bands sing about: lost hope and unmet expectations.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bybe_my_anchor April 21, 2012

Haunting, beautiful, amazing, AND clean album for creative teens

Amazing album, one of the best I've purchased this year. I meant to rate 5 stars but accidentally clicked on 4, oops. So anyways, there is no violence or l... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bystrawbryblondy April 9, 2008


the lyrics of these songs on the album are so intense... in a good way! like in the ice was getting thinner is my favorite on the cd. it really touches dead on,... Continue reading

What's the story?

In NARROW STAIRS, Seattle based indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie have teetered off the road of expectations, to produce an album that is more raw, modern, and intense than their last one. They stay true to their band's identity, and bring the listener an album full of sad lyrics, changing synth-punk rock grooves, quiet piano, and pulsing bass lines.

Is it any good?

Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla calls Narrow Stairs "weird, spectacular, and creepy." Full of eerie life examinations and realizations, this album deals in the dark side. With tracks like "Bixby Canyon Bridge" about disappointment with life, and "No Sunlight," about the loss of innocence and lowered expectations, don't expect to feel uplifted after listening. There are a few "funny" songs -- if you can call them that. "You Can Do Better Than Me" is a not-so-serious tune about being stuck in a relationship, and "Your New Twin Size Bed" deals in the defeat of being alone. "Talking Bird" is simple and sweet, and "The Ice is Getting Thinner" is a heavy, creepy ballad about love gone wrong -- more haunting with its absence of the piano. The music is laid back, like the vocals, with a certain ability to really tug at your heart. There are some surprises with hard guitar and reverb pedals to balance the angst and anger with the sad, stuck lyrics of lost hopes and broken dreams.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the notion that big label bands are forced to subscribe to a certain image or "brand" that is put upon them by the record company and industry as a whole. Do you think this makes music fake or over-produced? Do you prefer bands, like Death Cab, who try to stay true to themselves and their ideals?

Music details

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