On January 11, 2011, Barsuk Records reissued the vinyl edition of Emergency & I, which includes an oral history of the band conducted by The A.V. Club's Josh Modell.
1.1 2011 reissue
2 Lyrical themes
3 Reception and legacy
4 Track listing
7 External links
In 1998, The Dismemberment Plan signed a record deal with Interscope Records. Emergency & I was recorded during the band's time with Interscope and was meant to be the first of the two albums they would record with the label. Using the money from Interscope, the album was recorded at Water Music Studios in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Some songs went through different stages during recording. "Spider in the Snow" was originally going to have real strings. However, Travis Morrison thought that using strings was "too fancy" and decided to use Casio keyboards instead. "What Do You Want Me To Say" was originally going to have turntable scratching, but the plan was scrapped after producer Chad Clark thought using samples was kitsch. Chad Clark also originally did not want "You Are Invited" to be on Emergency & I, finding the song too sentimental.
When Geffen Records and A&M Records merged into Interscope in 1999, Universal Music Group announced that they would cut numerous artists from Interscope. The Dismemberment Plan were one of the artists affected by the cut. In turn, the band decided to release Emergency & I on their former label DeSoto Records.
The band originally wanted Emergency & I to be released on vinyl back in 1999, but decided against that after seeing that vinyl was not a commercially viable option. After seeing a resurgence in vinyl records, the band decided to release the album on vinyl in 2011. Morrison cited sound quality and packaging as reasons he wanted to a vinyl release.
The vinyl reissue came with 4 bonus tracks. "Since You Died" was the B-side to the vinyl 7-inch release of "What Do You Want Me To Say" that came out before Emergency & I was recorded. "Just Like You" was originally released on the compilation EP Ft. Reno Benefit Compilation. "The First Anniversary Of Your Last Phone Call" was originally released on The Ice Of Boston EP. "The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich" was originally from Juno & The Dismemberment Plan, a split EP between Juno and The Dismemberment Plan.
Popmatters' Zachary Houle noted that the album had themes of growing pains experienced by people in their 20s. Jeremy Larson of Consequence of Sound noted the influence of Stephen Malkmus on the album's lyrics. Paul Thompson of Pitchfork Media related the album title to the encroaching chaos of modern life with the self.
With regards to individual songs, the track "Back and Forth" is based on Bob Dylan's "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)." "You Are Invited," a song about an anonymous invitation that comes through the mail, deals with belonging and selflessness. "The City" deals with Morrison's loneliness living in a city, his longing for a wanderlust lover, and his inability to leave the city without abandoning everything that makes him who he is. Zachary Houle argued that songs such as "Memory Machine" and "What Do You Want Me to Say?" deals with themes of disconnectedness in the information age, including predicting the social media phenomenon that would be prominent in the following decade.
Reception and legacy
Consequence of Sound 
One Thirty BPM 95% 
Pitchfork Media (2011) 10/10 
PopMatters 10/10 
Robert Christgau A− 
Rolling Stone 
Tiny Mix Tapes 
Sputnikmusic 5/5 
Emergency & I received overwhelming critical acclaim. The album has been described by Rolling Stone as "a game-changer for indie rock fans," and Pitchfork Media describes it as "one of indie's key LPs." Glide Magazine called the album "[The Dismemberment Plan's] landmark masterstroke, still cited by many bands and critics as a turning point in the evolution of indie rock."
Pitchfork Media originally gave the album a 9.6 out of 10, with a short review that read simply, "If you consider yourself a fan of groundbreaking pop, go out and buy this album right now. Now. Get up. Go." Ned Raggett of Allmusic wrote "The band's third full album is a firecracker, showing their at once passionate and sly approach to music—take in everything, put it back out, and give it its own particular sheen and spin—is in no danger of letting up." Robert Christgau wrote "The only way they're [The Dismemberment Plan] punk anymore is that there aren't very many of them and that none of them seems to be playing a keyboard even though most of them can. What they are instead is a much rarer thing [...] thoughtful, quirky, mercurial young adults skilled at transforming doubt into music."
Emergency & I was ranked the best album of 1999 by Pitchfork Media. On the same website, the album was ranked #16 their "redux" version of the Top 100 Albums of the 1990s list, with William Morris writing "The album's lyric book reads better than half the modern volumes on my bookshelf. Modern R&B should have as much rhythm. Modern rock should have as much balls." In addition, the website ranked the track "The City" #64 on their list of the Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s.
The album's 2011 vinyl reissue brought about numerous positive reviews as well. Zachary Houle of Popmatters wrote "Just in terms of a sheer personal enjoyment factor, I would almost argue the case for a new rating: the Spinal Tap-esque 11. Emergency & I is just a relentless record, full of youthful abandon and insightful penetrations into the technology-addled brain. I just can’t get enough of it." In another review of the reissue, Consequence of Sound's Jeremy Larson wrote: "The Plan colors this record with 12 songs that serve as hitching posts for whatever ails you. Life medicine never sounded better ... Emergency & I continues to arch its influence even after a 12-year gap." Pitchfork gave the reissue a perfect 10/10, hailing it as the "best new reissue," while Sputnikmusic's Robin Smith rated the album "classic" with a perfect 5.0.
All music composed by Travis Morrison, Jason Caddell, Eric Axelson and Joe Easley.
No. Title Length
1. "A Life of Possibilities" 4:34
2. "Memory Machine" 2:43
3. "What Do You Want Me to Say?" 4:18
4. "Spider in the Snow" 3:50
5. "The Jitters" 4:19
6. "I Love a Magician" 2:38
7. "You Are Invited" 4:52
8. "Gyroscope" 2:29
9. "The City" 4:26
10. "Girl O'Clock" 2:54
11. "8½ Minutes" 2:57
12. "Back and Forth" 5:07
[show]Bonus tracks on the 2011 vinyl
"A Life of Possibilities", "What Do You Want Me to Say?", "Jitters" and "The City" are all also featured in remixed form on A People's History of the Dismemberment Plan with bonus tracks "Just Like You" and "The First Anniversary Of Your Last Phone Call" being on The Ice Of Boston EP.
Eric Axelson – bass, keyboards
Jason Caddell – guitar, keyboards
Joe Easley – drums
Travis Morrison – vocals, guitar, keyboards