Alt Tuesday: Metric

Good lyrics are hard to come by these days. Not to call any modern acts out (except the Goo Goo Dolls… see below), but if you listen to a lot of different bands within the same genre, you aren’t going to have to think a lot to figure out what each metaphor means. For God’s sake, the number of times “And you bleed just to know you’re alive” has been regurgitated as a lyric is ridiculous. But Emily Haines breaks down those walls with her lyricism on Metric’s 2009 album Fantasies.

The opening track, “Help I’m Alive” is a radio gem, with a wonderful hook and thoughtful lyrics. She hypnotically sings “Help I’m alive my heart keeps beating like a hammer / Hard to be soft, Tough to be tender.” Clever lyricism? Check. The trend continues onto the second track of the album, “Sick Muse” (see video below). This song is catchy and guitar driven, but the lyrics stand out yet again. “Watch out, Cupid stuck me with a sickness / Pull your little arrows out and let me live my life” If you ask me, that is the kind of imagery and thought that is missing in much modern music.

Stylistically, Metric isn’t necessarily doing anything innovative, but the band’s music is convincingly well crafted. The group’s use of synthesizers and keyboards is well placed and complementary to the strong melodies that come from lead guitarist James Shaw and Haines.  Haines’ sweet voice shines through on amazing spacey tracks like “Twilight Galaxy” and the radio single “Gold, Guns, Girls.”

The line “Who would you rather be / The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?” is a particular piece of brilliance that can be heard on “Gimme Sympathy.” The kind of thought process that goes into these lyrics is clearly far superior to the other minds in the indie field. I would highly suggest Fantasies as a gateway into the less accessible earlier Metric albums if you have a thing for thoughtful indie synth pop.

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