Music News

Everything looks perfect from far away: The Postal Service’s ‘Give Up’ turns 20

M Postalservice 021623
Sub Pop Records

The Postal Service‘s first and only album, Give Up, is turning 20.

Released on February 19, 2003, Give Up showcased the combined sounds of Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and electronic artist Jimmy Tamborello, as well as backing vocals from Rilo Kiley‘s Jenny Lewis. A slow-building success, Give Up wouldn’t break out until 2004 and was eventually certified Platinum by the RIAA in 2012 on its way to becoming second to only Nirvana‘s Bleach as the bestselling album put out by the Sub Pop record label.

Much of Give Up‘s journey to the mainstream was driven by the single “Such Great Heights,” which became The Postal Service’s signature song. It was featured in a variety of TV shows and commercials, and was memorably covered by Iron & Wine for the Garden State soundtrack.

In addition to reaching the ears of indie and pop fans alike, The Postal Service grabbed the attention of the United States Postal Service, which, as The New York Times reported, hit the band with a cease-and-desist letter. Eventually, the two Postal Services came to an agreement that allowed the band to keep their name in exchange for USPS getting to use their music.

While the success of Give Up grew, the Postal Service members continued with their separate projects, and a second album never materialized. They reunited in 2013 for a tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of Give Up and then in 2020 for a video to encourage voting in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

The Postal Service will hit the road again this fall to celebrate Give Up‘s 20th anniversary. The tour will be co-headlined by Death Cab for Cutie, who will be marking the 20th anniversary of their 2003 album, Transatlanticism.

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