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The Dismemberment Plan
Emergency & I


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer STAFF
May 23rd, 2015 | 9 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


Chapter I: Newcomer's Alienation

The sound was more like the blaring honks of a truck than any average alarm clock, yet the melody was calm and benevolent; it was the subtle bass line and harmonized guitar lines of "A Life of Possibilities" that woke me from my slumber. The vocals were calm and clear without devolving into a full monotone. Being startled in the morning was certainly appropriate, as nothing could have amply prepared me for the next four years I'd face in an institution grander than usual. Predictably, I stumbled all over the house with stardust in my eyes until I could get a grip on the reality of having new peers and adults to mock when I eventually got to the building. What a treat.

The bus called and I somehow answered. As I took my seat in the dreary company of students half-awake and half-caring, I noticed that "Memory Machine" was playing on the radio. Before I could question a song so unpopular getting some airplay, I could only notice the weird time signatures and unorthodox guitar chords as they more clearly represented inner conflict and turmoil than anything I was already conceiving about the trip to larger halls and likely duller rooms. However, I can't say I was exceptionally shocked when I saw the school towering over me for the first time. It was just as I'd imagined it to be: bland and much larger than middle school, and a bit bleak-looking at the same time. I was ready to enter when a familiar voice came to greet me.

"Hey, wait up!"

I sighed. "Hey, Patrick," muttered my low voice. Yeah, I was never one for the most stimulating conversation. Oh well.

Patrick continued, "Do you think we'll get some of the same classes? I still haven't gotten my schedule from the auditorium yet."

"We'll see, I suppose."

Couldn't I just have the first day to myself? Well, maybe a few friends wouldn't hurt. I always remembered that one song "What Do You Want Me to Say?", in which the line "I lost my membership card to the human race, so don't forget the face" is sung over that slow lumbering beat and some highly experimental guitar work. The melodic chorus was always gorgeous when contrasting the more frantic verses, anyway, despite sharing the same tempo. As the sentimental symphonic keyboard chords of "Spider in the Snow" introduced another beautiful ballad of bright guitar lines and nimble bass work, I caught a warmer tone in my voice and carried on with Patrick into our first class.

Chapter II: Mid-School Crisis

Unfortunately, depression was able to creep in around the second year of studies. There was a loss of motivation, the dread of bipolar disorder, and a loss of friends swirling about as thoughts and complications. "The Jitters" came on my iPod as I lay, perfectly summing up the mood with melancholic clean guitar lines and minimalist instrumentation throughout. The vocals sounded perfectly downtrodden against the low hum of the bass and the soft drumming, and I simply lay there motionless as I know that nothing quite feels as it should.

More telling was "I Love a Magician" with its frantic tempo and constantly shifting wave of emotions as Travis' falsettos possibly symbolized the sort of mental breakdown I was experiencing within my own four walls. Finally, I'd seen enough after one certain day. There was a rope in the janitor's closet and a nice wide space behind the institution that seemed excellent for the lonely and the alienated. Maybe a noose was just what I needed to drown my thoughts and drain the life I no longer deemed worth any fight. As every memory was flashing by me, I remembered the final day of being a freshman.

*Flashback*
--------------

"Hm?" I wondered as I looked down on my desk. There was a note that said "You Are Invited." Of course this seemed incredibly vague, so I had to go straight to the source: my friend Willow, whose writing I recognized quite well.

I reached out to her after class. "Hey Willow, what was the note about?"

She pointed to the back of the note, which read, "by anyone to do anything."

"I wanted to assure you that you'll be fine. I know what you've been going through, but just keep this note whenever you feel down or not wanted."

"You Are Invited" started playing during the school bulletin. The simplistic drumming and vocals were able to build up to such a wonderful climax of intensely loud guitar chords and passionate vocals, while over a rhythm section that was now more involved. The lyrics were some of the most well-written and relatable writings around.

Willow came back to my desk after offering yearbook exchanges to other peers in the classroom and said to me, "Oh, and I am having a party next week; I want all of my good friends to be there." She then gave me a wink, saying, "You are invited."

I smiled, before I realized just where I am now.

*Present Day*
-----------------

I untied the noose and stepped away from the tree I placed it upon. Running back up to the parking lot, I just had the song "Gyroscope" playing in my head. The off-kilter 15/8-time drumming and the fast post-hardcore feel of the song were pounding in my head as I paced around the school quite a few times. In the end, however, the more upbeat and uplifting chorus (switching nicely to a major key) led me to do what should have already been done... I called a friend to drive me home.

But the nightmares would only persist.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter III: Looking Up

I decided to sit on the roof and reflect that night. I brought some portable speakers and my iPod with me, playing "The City." As I looked out across the horizon from my heavily forested neighborhood, I remembered why this song was my personal favorite. The melancholic guitar line, that great synthesizer-driven melody that the bass line accompanies, and some beautifully sentimental yet dark lyrics to top it all off. A true masterpiece. Alone I waited for an answer to my own actions and regrets, and still nothing and no one would reply to me up on the empty rooftop. All I could do was step down and try for a second chance at making this life more worthwhile.

The next two years were half-spent forgetting the past and half-spent enjoying the other shades of high school. I still wasn't quite the most talkative friend in the world, and my occasional stuttering was only matched by Travis Morrison's awkward vocals in "Girl O'Clock" which fit the fast-paced instrumentation and frantic atmosphere perfectly. I was still feeling this way during school projects and reports, but only when I wasn't prepared for them (which was all the time). Each class became a period of subtle mockery as I held some lowered esteem for other teachers and classmates, only harboring greater esteem for those I held dear to me during those days. But it wasn't like I was pissed off or malicious... for the most part, at least. Perhaps my alienation wasn't as potent as I once perceived it as, and that I could escape some of it at will, I ended up thinking.

By the day graduation arrived, I'd already forgotten my old troubles and was entering the new trouble of actually missing this once-despised institution. "8 1/2 Minutes" was playing in my headphones as I was entering high school for the last time, and while a bit of a weird song to make an entrance with, that chorus was pretty neat-sounding with its guitar and synthesizer layers accompanying some upbeat and melodious vocals that offset the spoken ones wonderfully. This was a night to remember, and could only lead to a grander future as this chapter came to a close.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The sound was more like any average alarm clock than that of the blaring honks of a truck, yet the melody was brisk and fast-paced. It was the quickly-plucked bass line and the gorgeous-yet-simplistic electric guitar melodies of "Back of Forth" that woke me from slumber. I kept hearing the line "So throw your hands in the air; wave them like you just don't care. It's on a whim, it's on a dare; to shrug away what we can't bear" because this became the motto for me. I was finally able to shrug off the bleak moments of the past, acknowledging them while looking ahead.

I knew things would be fine... and The Dismemberment Plan were there to help me push though.



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4.3
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robertsona STAFF (5)
rock music of the future. Seriously....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
PappyMason
May 23rd 2015


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This review looks really interesting, I look forward to reading it tomorrow. I need to get some sleep right now...



m/

Mort.
May 23rd 2015


25857 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Literally was about to post same thing as pappy haha



Yeah ive been looking forward to reading this, always interesting to hear someones views on an one of my fav albums

Jots
Emeritus
May 23rd 2015


7563 Comments


here ya go E
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/32450/The-Dismemberment-Plan-Emergency--I/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRLOf3bSlVs&list=PLBE73D4CD2397FB04

PappyMason
May 23rd 2015


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, this was a good read. How fictional was it?

AmericanFlagAsh
May 23rd 2015


13482 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Posd

Interesting story, amazing album

Koris
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2017


21440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I forgot about this review... fuck, I wrote a damn novel with this one, lol

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2024


27854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

https://www.brooklynvegan.com/the-dismemberment-plan-announce-emergency-i-25th-anniversary-shows/

AmericanFlagAsh
May 14th 2024


13482 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Oh fuck yes

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2024


27854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

three cities, and it's the three cities where the band members live currently, but/and good luck



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