1999 looked liked one of the worst years for pop music - ever. The tweens (before they were deemed that by Disney marketers years later) ruled the radio dial, and one after another, the boy bands and jailbaited Tiger Beat pin-ups of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (and some ten other individually wrapped Kraft slices) took over what was coined "pop music" at the time. In 1999, two other albums should have dominated pop - one by the Olivia Tremor Control and one by The Dismemberment Plan. While the former's album is still a favorite lush, poppy acid trip I spin constantly every spring and summer, the latter was jagged, cruel and self-deprecating. It wasn't hip-hop in the vein of WHY? (possibly an RIYL though), but Emergency and I shifted so many times in its delivery that it is one of the best anti-pop albums of the '90s. When I received the record my senior year of high school, I didn't fully understand it. I can admit that. (Years later I would covet a forever love with Change my sophomore year of college - the album's jazzy and unhinged follow-up.) Then again, pop was evil at that age in my life. I was just beginning to scratch the idea that pop could be something savant with bands such as The Format and Days Away entering my musical sphere. In the past few years though, I've really grown to love the electronic sweep and neurotic tongue of Emergency and I. It's a dance record wrapped in the mindset of someone digging their way out of the worst situations in the best and healthiest of ways. With the re-issue of the album on vinyl through Barsuk this month, it's been on constant spin as it's reminding me that pop doesn't haven't to be a bitter taste, and when life has you down, sometimes you have to make the best of it and accept it for what it is.