A Look at Emotion Is Dead
15 May 2010
Emotion IS Dead
Tuesday August 29 2000 was the day The Juliana Theory's Emotion is Dead was released by Seattle-based independent label Tooth and Nail Records. After ten long years we proudly bring you a comprehensive guide to Emotion is Dead.
Emotion is Dead is perhaps my favourite record as is many other peoples, I first heard The Juliana Theory on a December evening in 2001 while discovering new music on MP3.com. If I told You This Was Killing Me, Would You Stop? Was the first track I heard and I thought it was fantastic. I got the CD sometime the following spring or summer and ever since it has been one of the most heavily played CDs on my stereo.
Ten years on and people still love the record. Here are a collection of reviews, quotes, opinions and images that you may not have seen before. A comprehensive look at all things EID.
Chris Pecoraro at the now defunct pittsburghrock.com shared these sentiments about Emotion is Dead in a 2001 article:
You always say goodnight is truly the showcase of the album. Entering into the difficult realm of King's X, Tears for Fears and Journey, Juliana has once again proven the age-old rock theory that you can never have too many vocal lines, and the more layers of guitars, the better.
A rare feat for Pittsburgh, short of a few blues artists, they have created an album that keeps getting better and better with every track.
Every artist today wants to create a "diverse, yet focused album". Fulfilling Brett's dream is a handful of great songs, all seeming to create a concept album of sorts, or a modern day "Abbey Road".
An article on EID by splendidezine.com shares:
The Juliana Theory is equipped with enough hooks and harmonies to satisfy even the most sceptical of Cuomo-philes. Want proof? You need look no further than Emotion is Dead's lead track, "Into the Dark". Its contagious blend of stacked vocal harmonies and big riffs proves just a taster of things to come.
A 2001 review by the now defunct punkrocks.net wrote:
For a straight-up rock band, these guys keep the listener on the edge of his seat and bring some diversity and much-needed talent to an expansive, but overall very tired alt. rock genre.
Steven Losey of Allmusic.com wrote in retrospective after Love came out:
Emotion is Dead delivered some hard-hitting, heavier cuts, particularly "To the Tune of 5,000 Screaming Children" and "Is Patience Still Waiting".
"We're At the Top of the World," whose sha la la chorus demanded sing-along participation from the listener.
Love may have been a better record, but Emotion is Dead was the first to display the full reach of this band's ability.
An article retrieved through archive.org on ThePRP.com written by Wookubus eloquently described EID as:
Vocally, the album is touching, with heartfelt lyrics being strung out with a syrupy pop sensibility and a vibrant high end range that hits and holds notes effortlessly to suck the listener in close. Tangible and yet slightly surreal, they float freely like a warm breeze through the speakers although they do occasionally break character to deliver an aggressive yell.
With the high number of standout tracks in place the album manages to pull through and proudly take the emo genre to new areas of experimentation.
One Amazon.co.uk customer review from 2002:
Looks like emotion isn't dead, as it's being churned out by the bucket load by these guys! Excellent album, buy it if you enjoy quality music.
What the Band Think
Emotion is Dead drummer Neil Hebrank shared in a 2009 interview with us that:
(My favourite recording with the band was) Definitely Emotion is Dead. I think it contained the best combination of song writing, musicianship, and originality. It was also a blast to make; it felt like something special happened in the studio every day.
Juliana Theory Bassist Chad Alan shared in a 2009 Absolutepunk.net web chat:
We would always write collectively and that was one of the most rewarding and fun things about writing to me. The changes that a song goes through. There is no doubt that Brett took what we all would write initially and spend loads of time refining and recording demos. I know there are songs where he would have multiple different ideas lyrically and vocally until he was happy with the final result...
In an interview dated September 10th 2002 with Jon Garrett at PopMatters,
Brett Detar gives an insight into the record:
On Emotion is Dead we tried to follow a pretty strong pop formula -- three and a half or four-minute songs and A-B-A-B-C-A-B or whatever.
What the Guys behind the Scenes Think
Long-time friend of the band Jason Magnusson was EID engineer and mixed the record to what we know and love to day. Jason shared these thoughts on Emotion is Dead in a 2010 interview with us:
I think we all knew we were working on something special, but as anyone who's spent any amount of time in the music industry understands, quality and success are elusive bedfellows. It's a complete crapshoot unless you've got millions of dollars backing you. Emotion is Dead has sold upwards of 100,000 copies, with basically no label support. That's certainly nothing to sneeze at. Every bit of this album's success can be credited directly to the tireless work ethic of the band. Probably the hardest working act I've ever encountered. When they weren't touring incessantly, they were rehearsing and writing, several hours a day, five days a week.
NOTHING about Emotion is Dead was easy... blood/ sweat/ tears shed by all. When Barry and I started hearing these songs for the first time we knew the boys had taken their ambitions and talents to the next level. We knew we were dealing with a dense, heavily multi-tracked pop/ rock album, and we had under 30 days to track and mix... not a lot of time for this kind of monster.
Brenda Tharp is a Little Rock based singer and former opening act for Joan Rivers. She shared her vocals on the track You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight and recalls
I remember doing some background vocals for Barry (Poynter) and the (early version of the) song sounding very haunting. My recording session at Poynter's Palace recording Studios was fabulous, as always.
What it Means to People
I was working at an office job in Madison, WI when I first heard TJT's music from an ex co-worker of mine. He borrowed me the CD, which I never gave back and which I loved. You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight is my all-time favourite song on the album. I used to listen to it while I was camping out in the valley-looking up at the stars. That song is very low-key and mellow, but it also has a strong punch to it. Perfect for camping under the stars & listening to.
I'm not sure when the first time I heard the album was. I believe it was in my ex husbands car driving around Anniston, AL. I instantly fell in love with it. I loved it enough that I wanted to name my daughter Juliana. When the husband and I divorced all I asked for was the Knapsack CD and Juliana Theory Emotion is Dead CD. Neither copy plays, and I' ve replaced both, I don't know how many times.
Emotion is Dead is actually the last album I purchased by TJT... I was originally introduced to the band by a friend of mine, he recommended the album Music From Another Room... That was in late 2002...
(when I) went in search for any music I didn't have, I found Emotion is Dead, at this point, I truly already loved the band, therefore the album means just as much to me as any of them...
On his Facebook page on September 20 2009, singer Brett shared an insight in regard to the artwork:
Ok, I want to clear the air about something that has left me feeling guilty now for nearly a decade. Emotion is Dead has some of the absolute worst album art ever and I am sorry for my part in putting it out there in the world.
I chose the company Buro Destruct to do the album's artwork because I saw some of their prior work in a design book and it was quite progressive at the time. I was not aware that their worst work would be reserved for the Juliana Theory. So when they sent over version one of the proposed cover, it was actually this Kosker crotch shot:
Tooth and Nail resisted this idea because I don't think they were comfortable with pelvic album art.
So after the Loverboy style crotch was vetoed, I came up with the (idiotic) idea to have the cover feature a disheartened girl in front of an industrial city. From that the design company came back to us with this:
I'm pretty sure that's supermodel Devon Aoki who was overlaid on a photo of Tokyo. The designers borrowed her photograph from a fashion mag and our label wasn't about to pay for the rights to the pic. So, we were forced to shoot a cover girl ourselves and have someone at the label overlay the girl on top of the existing artwork. This little moment of photoshop disaster happened at the very last second before the album had to go to print and somehow our non-Devon Aoki cover girl ended up transparent and a different shade of blue from the rest of the album cover...
Then of course there is the Japanese version of the record which is pretty much identical to the version released to the western world with the addition of the native language to the left of the cover and an additional track at the end of the record. Later released on Music From Another Room, This Is The End Of Your Life makes up the bonus track following Emotion Is Dead Pt 2.
The girl on the cover that replaced Devon Aoki at the very last minute was Florida based model Tiffany Jack. Photographed at Satellite Beach Florida by the talented Rose Wind Jerome, the cover girl now resides in Los Angeles, California managing a production team called The Senate, and has since decided to lose the blonde hair for something a little darker.
The LP Version
Distributed by Revelation Records, the LP version of Emotion is Dead was limited to a one time pressing of 1,500 copies. With alternate artwork and a Grey swirled marble effect record, the LP version is a real collector's item.
The Technical Stuff
The record itself was produced by Barry Poynter and Juliana Theory vocalist Brett Detar. Engineering duties were carried out by Barry Poynter and Jason Magnusson. The mixing was also by Barry Poynter and Jason Magnusson with occasional input from both Brett Detar and Chad Alan.
Barry Poynter and Jason Magnusson selected the track order while the record was mastered by Brian Gardner at Bernie Grudman Mastering.
Emotion is Dead was mixed to digital at Poynter's Palace in Little Rock Arkansas with the exception of Emotion is Dead Part II which was recorded by Brett at the Detar house and Something Isn't Right Here which was recorded by Jason Magnusson inside the Poynter's spare bedroom.
Supplementary vocals on You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight are by the talented Little Rock based signer by Brenda Tharp.
Perhaps you haven't heard yet. Of course you have. August 2010 is the tenth anniversary of Emotion Is Dead and to mark the occasion the band are getting together to play the record in it's entirety.
Still have Emotion is Dead reunion show questions? You can read more in an exclusive interview with Brett Detar discussing all aspects of the EID shows.