The Dismemberment Plan | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Dismemberment Plan

A People's History of The Dismemberment Plan

When The Dismemberment Plan was blazing across the U.S. playing its farewell tour, set lists were chosen exclusively by fan request. I thought this was a great idea, except for the fact that all these other morons were going to be able to pick the songs I got to hear the Plan play for the last time ever.

Then, at one of their shows in New York, they called on this moron and I blew it big time. First, I requested a b-side ("The Love War") to which singer Travis could not remember the words, and then I went blank. I cracked and froze. People with better haircuts than I were giving me the eye and I couldn't take the heat.

I eventually spoke and they happily played my request ("Back and Forth"). But on the band's latest and last release, A People's History of The Dismemberment Plan, it has not only let the fans pick the songs, but remix them too and -- thank god -- not all of them are as lame as I am.

The Dismemberment Plan's history is speckled with brilliant-but-bizarre moments, such as the time the group was invited to play on a Pearl Jam tour, but ended up getting booed off stages all across Europe. Or how it created such wonderfully unique, catchy music that nonetheless failed to capture a wider audience. Through it all, though, the group has produced four earth-shakingly good albums that will forever live on as a testament to its musical genius.

But then one day, The Dismemberment Plan broke up, ending the dream and killing the chance for more great music.

Why, then, for your last effort, remix songs that are already amazing? The venture probably would have been futile if executed by the band itself. But unleashing its music to fans via its Web site enabled the tunes to take on a new life after the band's depressing demise and, for the always fan-loyal Plan, provided a chance to say goodbye.

Some of the remixes on the album leave only traces of the original song intact, creating interesting new material. At the same time, others transform the guitar-driven pop into enjoyable techno dance anthems. Highlights on the album include the zany "Pay For The Piano," a mellow re-examination of "The Other Side," and the world-beat infused "What Do You Want Me to Say?"

If you have never heard The Dismemberment Plan, go buy the album "!" and then work your way up to A People's History. If you were a fan of The Dismemberment Plan before, this album will probably make a nice sentimental cap to your Plan collection, but still leave you yearning to listen to the original songs in the end.

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