the dismemberment plan – emergency & i (1999)

Evident in the title, this indie rock classic is a frantic attempt to locate the first-person character in a field of indecision. ‘Emergency and I’ was wisely delayed until the very end of 1999: if the 20th century had a final note, any of these twelve songs would be an appropriate farewell. Travis Morrison’s boyish vocals lead the tracks through artificial fog – he is a perfectly human actor tangled in wider fears of isolation. But then there’s the drums on this album. Oh mannn (is all I have to say). Pop music post-2000 was further emboldened by its own commercial appeal. In 1999, The Dismemberment Plan expressed total life hesitation and made the theme of doubt unreasonably enjoyable.

27/30

A favourite: ‘What Do You Want Me to Say?’

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