Monday, September 14, 2009

Polaris Round Up:: Metric Fantasies

I’ll be honest. Over the years my relationship with Metric has been akin to the dorky kid in the chem lab constantly hating on the prom queen or star quarterback in all those 80’s movies. Somehow, the fact they are popular meant that supporting them would be like giving up who we are, and the false comfort that in 15 years no one would remember their name but we'd be rich and famous.

I know that makes no sense, but it just kind of happened. Obviously, Herohill caters to a small but loyal audience, one that Metric would never benefit from or need to acknowledge. It might seem like jealousy, but really it’s just reality. Although our traffic wouldn’t cause some of the bigger blogs to bat an eye, we pride ourselves on being a stepping stone that a band can use to jump starts a career; not soaring success stories obviously, but enough to help a band books shows and tour outside of their city walls. So when someone started sending us Metric's discs, the songs were just something I never bothered with. When you open for some of the biggest bands in the world, I don’t think you are worried about opening for Windom Earle at Gus’ Fest ’09.

The saddest thing about my attitude is there are countless “indie” fans doing the exact same thing and its left Metric floating in limbo. They are too famous for any indie cred or blog love and far too indie for mainstream. Sure, they are doing great – I don’t think too many of the other acts are leaving the Polaris Gala and heading to Australia for a tour - but don’t get it twisted. Metric isn’t selling out stadiums, traveling with video screens and certainly isn’t one of the bands people point to when the discussion of the best known Canadian band comes up. People have a false conception of their status, which is why I think Fantasies is the perfect title for their release. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the band’s life and wealth, and that deflating that fantasy really dominates some of Haines’ best penned tracks on the record.

It’s become human nature hate anyone or anything popular and try to derail anyone with ambition enough to make it big. I’m not sure Metric has changed who they are that much from when they first started out and people loved them, they’ve just got much better at what they do best and play to a more appreciative audience. Metric isn’t ashamed to write singles, something the indie-est of indie rockers might ridicule but secretly wish they could pen a track that got them National exposure. I know you might tell people Lonesome Crowded West is Modest Mouse's crowning achievement, but hot damn, deep down you know Float On is the jam, or maybe it's OK Computer you gush about, but a few drinks and acoustic guitars later, it's High or Dry that people want to hear.

That is why Fantasies is a better record than most give it credit for. Forget words like safe or radio friendly, the band offers up hook after hook, refusing to take their foot off the gas. Just because the electronic-critical world wants to stumble on new discoveries and prove that they (we, whatever) all know more than you, find me another record that knocks 10 tracks out of the park as far as Fantasies does. Honestly, as far as singles go, these are home runs on a Pedro Cerrano level. On the single, Gimme Sympathy, Haines hints to the descent of Icarus and the danger of flying too high, too close to the sun only this time the danger is alienating the fan base that holds onto their name like a possession. More importantly, she reminds you that all rockers start out dreaming about being as big as The Beatles, The Stones, Nirvana or The Clash. Most bands are forced to give up on the idea when they realize they can't write songs that people want to hear over and over again.

So, where does this one stand? Honestly, I can’t see people given the honor of voting for this independent award - one that prides itself on being based strictly on artistic merit, regardless of genre or sales- giving it to the one band that probably doesn’t need the support but that’s not to say they shouldn’t. Fantasies is not my favorite, not even in my Top 3 but months ago I wouldn’t have included it at all, but now I find myself listening to the record in the car or mindlessly at my desk. That escapeability is sometimes exactly what you need from music, and something that Metric does better than almost anyone. Forget the freedom to dream we all lose as we grow up, Metric gives us the gift of letting us forget the pains and reality we often get saddled with and deal with for the majority of our lives.











MP3:: Metric - Gimme Sympathy







MP3:: Metric - Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (acoustic)

MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/metric

Labels: Emily Haines, , ,

Posted at 2:21 PM by ack :: 4 comments

add to facebook add to del.icio.us Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo


At 5:17 PM, Blogger Jim did sayeth:

"Fantasies is not my favorite, not even in my Top 3 but months ago I wouldn’t have included it at all, but now I find myself listening to the record in the car or mindlessly at my desk"

You and me both, Brother. Well said. If our places were switched on the 21st, I think I'd be fighting for this one to the bitter end.

 

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

"The saddest thing about my attitude is there are countless “indie” fans doing the exact same thing and its left Metric floating in limbo. They are too famous for any indie cred or blog love and far too indie for mainstream."

That's a pretty accurate and fair way to depict Metric. And I'm almost the exactly same way with Metric. And like you, I too think Fantasies is a decent album.

 

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Sam did sayeth:

Float On really is the jam.

 

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Alex did sayeth:

I'm one of the dedicated fan base that "holds onto their name like a possession". Metric is, in my mind, not only an exceptional Canadian band finally garnering some of the widespread recognition they deserve, but also the kind of band that hasn't strayed so far from their roots that they are unrecognizable. And honestly, anything that Emily Haines does sounds like magic. Thank you for giving the album some of your time!

Selfishly, I think the recognition they have now is enough. People can finally relate when I gush about a single or CD, but they're still 'small' enough that it's not impossible to get floor seats to a concert - which is the milieu in which they REALLY shine.

And additionally, where is the acoustic track of Don't Think Twice, it's Alright from? And how can i get it onto my iPod?

 

Post a Comment