The Dismemberment Plan – Emergency & I: 4.5 stars
Precon: I’ve actually never had any preconceived notions of this band. I had no idea who the hell they were until they were right in front of me playing a set at the El N Gee in like 99/00. I remember being impressed by how much energy the lead singer expended, and without a doubt, liking them more than the headlining Promise Ring. My friend burnt me their cd when we got home, which was probably my first burnt cd ever, and it went right into heavy rotation. I half expected this album to lose its luster over time, but I have to say it’s only gotten better. I never even knew the critical acclaim it garnered until Pitchfork gave the reissue a perfect 10, which kinda sucks I hate those bastards. Now it’s like the Little Album That Could. Pitchfork notwithstanding, I love this album, let’s get to it.
Favorite Track: Girl O’Clock
Least Favorite: You Are Invited. So hard to say, but I skip this one sometimes so that’ll have to be the deciding factor.
I love the way it just dives right in the very first second the album is playing. This song has a palpable feel to it, setting the tone for what’s to come. The change up at the end is nice. For a while I thought it was a different song.
“What Do You Want Me to Say?” was one of the first songs that stood out to me, partly because I thought the guitar riff was annoying, partly because of the memorable lyrics, “I lost my membership card to the human race, so don’t forget the face, cause I know that I do belong here,” “There was a time when you could make me laugh at will, and you can do it still, but never is it for the right reasons,” partly because the emotive chorus hits you just right when you’re 16.
I always looked at “Spider in the Snow” and “The Jitters” as a couplet. Both down beat and depressing with lyrics that slice right through to the core. These two songs meant a lot more to me as I got older. The nearly emotionless delivery on Spider is just chilling, especially lines like “Yeah…I must’ve been having a ball…yeah.” I listened to this song on the way to work once and almost didn’t make it. It’s the most mundane line that always gets with me: “The trash goes out on a Tuesday now, you gotta make a note about that.” This is what life is filled with, trying to remember what day the trash goes out on. The title is perfect too. We’ve all felt like a spider in the snow at some point. “The Jitters” ups the ante by adding insanity and paranoia into the lonely/depressed/alienated mix. The standout line here is obviously “Plastic cube filled with pus that sits atop my supervisor’s desk.” The imagery throughout this album is superb.
The frenzied pace of “I Love a Magician” is our antidepressant. Or is it?
“You Are Invited” is another one that immediately stood out with its technoish beat.
“Gyroscope” is one of my favorites. “If she spins fast enough then maybe the broken pieces of her heart will stay together, but ain’t no gyroscope can spin forever.” Aweseome. Love the alternate chorus at the end too.
“The City” seems to be their most popular song and for good reason. Sounds great, powerful lyrics.
Ah, “Girl O’Clock.” Supercharged and frenetic. I love it.
“Back and Forth” always makes me feel good. Great track to go out on.
This is a classic album to me. Dismemberment Plan occupies a special place in my heart, and their music has stood the test of time. I’m glad I went to that stupid emo show.
Some other good ones