Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bandwatch: Metric's Glass Ceiling

I love metric. If my admiration for Metric had a glass ceiling, I would have already broken through it. I've been cranking up the volume and listening to them in the car for weeks on end. (The tune Handshakes comes to mind: "buy this car to drive to work, drive to work to pay for this car"). The new album "Live it Out" just keeps growing on me. It had a lot to live up to in my mind, after "Old World Underground" considering that the metric rhythums and clever lyrics of the first album kept me attentive for over two years.

"Live it out" is characteristic of metric, with it's soft, vibrating keyboard melodies interspersed with metronomic lead guitar parts and crunchy rock effects. But where "Old World Underground" was reminiscent of a punk scene that died, "Live it Out" was, as the title suggests, more settled in, to the point where it had more freedom to make fun of the ironies of life and those who kill themselves living it.

They've matured to be even more scathing in their mockery and subtle attacks against the mentality of mindless automatons and all-round jerks, re-addressing the war that won out despite many a protest, and the double standards and hypocrisy, and the harassment of players wanting a Poster Girl to take home at the end of an evening. (Good pronunciation of the French there girl!) It is always interesting to try to gauge Emily Haines' tone of voice. Is she sincere? Sarcastic? Ambivalent? Either way, I wouldn't want to be in a verbal spat with her. This is especially true when we encounter songs charged with resentment, dealing in harsh criticism passive-aggressively. Examples include the masochistic tendencies in Torture Me, and the malicious invitation that she extends in Too Little Too Late, where she says "you can take a live wire into the bath with you"

I've seen them twice in the last few months: once on Toronto Island, and once in Guelph, where I was close enough to see the blue sparkle in Emily Haines eyes, as she looked out past the audience, with her deep, impenetrible stare. Once I thought I felt the rustle from her flipping her hair during Empty: "shake your head it's empty, shake your hips move your feet..." This allowed me to hear most of the new songs before I bought the album, which came out in late September. Let me tell you: I was anxious for some more Metric.

Now they are touring in the USA, where they have a growing entourage of loyal fans. I look forward to having them back, once they return to one of the original hometowns, Toronto.

Now I just thought I'd give a sample of one of my favorite songs,
Glass Ceiling:

Only know what I'm told, only know what I'm told
Fast asleep daydreaming
Start to push, break your own glass ceiling
Can't count, can't catch the pieces falling

Who let it end up on the ground
How am I gonna know you're letting me down
How did I end up on the ground

Only do what I'm told, only do what I'm told
Last to leave cold calling
You're gonna lose your arms, amputate plasticine
There's no knight in silver armor shining

Who let it end up on the ground
How am I gonna know I'm letting you down
Who let it end up on the ground
How did he end up on the ground
Face down on the ground

Only go what I'm told, only know what I'm told
Inch to inches crowding
We can't leave, it's the last road open
Every speed on our knees is crawling


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