The Dismemberment Plan - “Gyroscope”
Ten years ago last month, I saw The Dismemberment Plan live for the first time. I was eighteen, and I had been obsessed with them for months. Unhealthily, I would learn later in life, but I had never had one band I could focus my energy on so specifically before and I was taking advantage. They were co-headlining with Death Cab For Cutie, and this night was the Plan’s turn to headline. They opened with “Gyroscope,” which was my favorite song of theirs. Ten years on, I’ve moved forward but I see that show as a definitive turning point, less crucial than getting married and maybe more important than any show I’ve actually played.
When this was fresh to me, it wasn’t just good, it was overwhelming. I could play this song for anybody and they’d either fall in love or at least admit they’d never heard anything like it. I play it every once in a while in a casual experiment when I’m recording younger bands at my studio, and they rarely freak out and need to know who it is. For whatever reason (YouTube, piracy, ADD), music since 1999 has become more engulfed in strobe lights. It can more easily go by unnoticed. It’s now a song that needs to be heard a handful of times before it reveals itself.
If you haven’t heard “Gyroscope,” press play. I suspect most people who stumbl by have heard it, but if it’s been a while, try to find two and a half minutes where you can stop and close your eyes and just hear it. It sounds different than it used to, there’s more air in the guitar chords and more depth in the drum sound. There’s more frailty hiding in Travis Morrison’s confidence. The song hasn’t changed, but the way you’ve listened to music has.