Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #57 The Dismemberment Plan - Change
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#57 Dismemberment Plan - Change
The Dismemberment Plan's evolution from mid-'90s post-punk immaturity on ! to the solid, yet spastic funk-rock on Emergency & I was an obvious transformation. From their debut, it was clear that the D-Plan was destined to rhythmically funk out, melodically freak out, and lyrically flush out Travis Morrison's inner woes. But, no album in the band's discography more accurately outs the band than 2001's Change. Change represents the band's change from youth to adulthood in terms of song-writing and musicianship.
Drummer Joe Easley and bassist Eric Axelson undoubtedly made up the most talented rhythm section in indie rock. Their polyrhythms have always been a cornerstone of the band's sound, but such crispness and focus was not as apparent on their previous releases. For instance, on Emergency & I, the band tended to focus on melody above rhythm, even though it was pushing simplicity over complexity. With Change, we hear a balance of rhythm and melody, where each piece plays a significant role rather than one overshadowing the other. Furthermore, lead singer Travis Morrison offers insight into his tumultous world of heartbreak and growing old. This has been a theme on previous albums, but Morrison has not managed to effectively project his lyrics in a mature manner - one that could be taken seriously. However, on Change, Morrison seems to have developed his lyrical profundity, taking on more of a pessimistic view, which ends up becoming something that has credibility. "There's no heaven and there's no hell / No limbo in-between / I think it's all a lie," he states in the opening track, "Sentimental Man." Morrison seems to have become a realist, largely casting aside his ideals for comfort. Essentially, it seems he has settled down. And, in a sense the band has settled down, forgoing the spastic freak-outs that many people seem to love and taking the noble route of clean and focused song-writing. Still, the band maintains its solid, rhythmic backbone and levels it with tighter melodies that accentuate Morrison's stories of hearbreak and acceptance of such pitfalls, but it hasn't sounded as mature and, overall, as inspiring as it does on Change.
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