Well slap me with a trout this is a great album. I’m not the first to say it, and I won’t be the last: Emergency & I is fucking phenomenal.
This album is on the same team as those from Neutral Milk Hotel, Fugazi, Guided By Voices, et al. (I should have a job at Pitchfork for mentioning them in the same paragraph) When you bring up those bands in 2012, people love to punch you in your stupid “I love fixed gear bicycles” face. Don’t let that put you off: these bands are fucking great. So is this album.
I was nine years old when this album came out. I’m sure I was perfecting the balancing act that is playing Starcraft Brood War on a dialup connection at that time. (Now that I think about it, I’ll be sure to add that to my resumé) Skipping ahead a few years and first kisses, sometime in highschool, I found that glistening moist miracle that was (Oink's Pink Palace)[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oink’s_Pink_Palace] and began a long rabbit-hole of a journey. The Dismemberment Plan’s “Emergency & I” was one of those albums I found pretty early on, and it changed my life.
This album hits you front and center with disillusionment. When you’re in highschool and an idiot, it’s tough to find things that share your disillusionment in a fulfilling, empathetic way. Especially things that don’t sound whiney and cliched. No one wants to spend their adolescence whining along with Evanescense or Green Day lyrics: we fall into those traps because we can’t find anything better.
“Emergency & I” is like musical Camus. You’re on a street corner, you’re in class, you’re with friends, your girlfriend, whatever, and you get this feeling of unease. This isn’t what your life should be. On standout “The City”, Travis Morrison lets us have it: ‘So I’m not unsympathetic / I see why you left / There’s no one to know / There’s nothing to do / The city’s been dead / since you’ve been gone’. If you didn’t feel that way in high school, you were probably an asshole.
As my disillusionment and disaffection have grown and morphed with age, I’ve found that my appreciation for this album has as well. It still soothes in a particular, kindred-spirit way. We’re an empathetic species: we’ll take our catharsis with a side of community, thank you. I’ve no shame in admitting that I’ve seen relief from experiencing someone else’s time-shifted twenty-something alienation myself. Life is alienation.
Sounds like: growing up.
View the original list in a new window.