Plans, which was released August 30, 2005 on Atlantic Records, cemented Death Cab for Cutie's place in our young indie hearts.

I hate to say that my first time seeing Death Cab for Cutie live was in an arena. As a longtime fan, I wish I could say that I saw them in a small, cozy room somewhere, but as Ben Gibbard played 'I Will Follow You Into the Dark', the sounds of an acoustic guitar and a chorus of voices reciting the lyrics felt intimate. That moment represented so much of what Death Cab is all about, and what the band has been able to achieve over the last 17 years: making us feel less alone.

Plans was greeted with mixed reviews when it was released in 2005, but as the band's first major-label release, the album accommodated a growing fan base. In addition to being accessible to the mainstream, stylistically, Plans followed in the footsteps of fan favorite Transatlanticism, which was released in 2003.

While some criticize the band for not taking many sonic risks on the record, I find the simplicity to be the most poignant. As the Washington band's fifth album, the sound is decidedly more confident, as is Gibbard's emotional exploration. Part of it can surely be attributed to the production value provided by a major label, but some of it is owed to the band's firm grasp on its place in -- and perhaps domination of -- the early 2000s indie-rock sphere.

With the release of Plans, which landed the band a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album, Death Cab went from indie darling to commercial success story. The band performed one of the album's singles, 'Crooked Teeth', on Saturday Night Live; 'Soul Meets Body' reached No. 5 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart; 'I Will Follow You Into the Dark' became the band's best-selling single; and the album was certified platinum in 2008. And if Plans proved anything, it's that the band didn't compromise sound for notoriety. DCFC waited until they had achieved success on their own terms before talking to major labels, thus allowing them considerable creative freedom.

Whether singing about the futility of relationships, loss, loneliness or self-doubt, Ben Gibbard provides a sense of comfort to the listener that fans have come to expect. This album is no different, although there's a larger sense of hope throughout, even on seemingly dark tracks. Gibbard seems to understand that all feelings are fleeting, as on album opener 'Marching Bands of Manhattan': "I live like a hermit in my own head, but when the sun shines again, I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in."

On Plans as well as the rest of DCFC's discography, Gibbard grapples with a variety of emotions, where lighter singles balance out songs that tug at the heartstrings, like 'What Sarah Said' and 'Summer Skin'. The gravity of certain tracks mirrors parts of life: sometimes despite our plans, there isn't a happy ending. Little did Gibbard know at the time of the album's release, that he would be speaking to himself 10 years later, reeling from divorce and maneuvering Chris Walla's departure on the band's latest album Kintsugi.

To deal with life's heartbreaks and triumphs, Gibbard turns to making music -- whether it's the grandiose emotions that accompany newfound adulthood on early albums or the reality of aging on later ones. Plans falls somewhere in between. It's an album that solidifies our relationship with Death Cab for Cutie, where we too find comfort and catharsis in its music.