The Dismemberment Plan, ‘Lookin’

This is probably the most direct song Travis Morrison has ever written. The chorus goes like this: “Wait, what did you say?/I’m sorry, oh I’m sorry/I was just lookin’.” It is a song about his wife. Imagine still being so in love with the person you have been with for years that the shape of her smile or the way her hair frames her face can mute the whole world. How lovely.

I kind of can’t believe he had it in him. It’s the kind of sentimental track Ben Folds started writing after his band broke up. I should say I like when Ben does it; I like this song, too. In its studio incarnation, not so different from the video above, the band gives it heft with a brisk rhythm section that provides the quickening heartbeat under the shimmering romance of the guitar parts.

The October-due Uncanney Valley is the band’s first album in over a decade and marks what will be considered a drastic shift. They’ve been gone a long time. In many ways, it is the open-armed 1999 major label power-pop album that Emergency & I was the anxious, genre-thwarting antithesis of. I am going to say a word and leave it here: “Semisonic.” I am going to give this album the same treatment I did Emergency & I and absorb it for a long, long time before I understand what it’s telling me, but “Lookin'” speaks plainly and carries a full heart.