Filed under: Issue 22 | Tags: 7/4 Shoreline, All to All, Almost Crimes, Amy Millan, Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl, Best of the Decade, Brendan Canning, Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene Presents, Emily Haines, Feel Good Lost, Forgiveness Rock Record, Kevin Drew, Leslie Feist, Something for All of Us..., Spirit If..., World Sick, You Forgot It in People
Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
PREVIEW: Click on the links below to learn more about these albums and access music from Broken Social Scene
When defining Broken Social Scene, only three words really do justice: indie rock pioneers. In the past decade, the 15+-member band has almost single-handedly reshaped the indie rock scene through their innovative yet extremely accessible music. After only three LP’s and a handful of EP’s and side albums, Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning and the gang are finally releasing their fourth full-length album five years after their last record, Broken Social Scene. Although the new album, Forgiveness Rock Record, is not due out until May 4, it has already garnered a huge amount of acclaim with it first epic single, “World Sick.” In preparation for the whirlwind that is to come, 20 Watts is re-examining the extraordinary efforts the baroque pop group has set forth in the past ten years.
Feel Good Lost (2001)
Broken Social Scene probably didn’t get the recognition they deserved for their first. In 2001, the group released Feel Good Lost, an ambient, post-rock record featuring only about one third of their current member roster. The album features minimal vocals by Feist and Drew and is mainly instrumental, showcasing most of the musical expressions found on their later work, in embryonic form. It isn’t a bad album, really, just a bit mediocre when held up against their later work. After recruiting about 15 more members, releasing You Forgot It in People and perfecting their unique sound, critics and fans alike mostly forgot about Feel Good Lost—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
You Forgot it in People (2002)
Broken Social Scene’s most renowned achievement to date is, without a doubt, their second full-length album, You Forgot It in People. Released in 2002, the album made it on countless “Best of Decade” lists, including 20 Watts’. Although big-name contributors, such as Leslie Feist (“Almost Crimes”) and Emily Haines (“Anthem for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl”), brought in a new audience of more commercial listeners, they also helped to perfect the beautiful yet hodge-podge sound that has become the trademark of Broken Social Scene. While most sophomoric efforts usually disappoint, You Forgot It in People served as the catalyst for Broken Social Scene’s coronation into indie-rock royalty.
Broken Social Scene (2005)
While the album’s sound still mirrors You Forgot It in People’s, the band’s 2005 third full-length, Broken Social Scene, presents a more devil-may-care side of the band. Basically, they just want to jam out. Tracks such as “Windsurfing Nation” and “Superconnected” are much less structured and feature passionate vocals from members such as Feist, Drew, and Canning randomly tossed in against heavy percussion and guitar. Although more than half of the album reveals this disheveled sound, tighter tracks such as “Swimmers” and “7/4 Shoreline” are strategically thrown into the mix, reeling the fans of You Forgot It in People back in. After they gained prominence with You Forgot It in People, the band showed with Broken Social Scene that they are not afraid to make music their own way.
Spirit If… (2007)
In 2007, the band introduced a new project called Broken Social Scene Presents… The first album, Spirit If…, was meant to be co-founding member Kevin Drew’s solo album yet it features almost every member of Broken Social Scene. Drew does, however, sing almost all of the lead vocals and write most of the songs. The album as a whole is also very similar to Broken Social Scene’s studio albums. Every track has its own uniqueness to it, some slow and subtle (“Gang Bang Suicide”) while others could call for headbanging (“Back Out on The …”). The album received near-perfect scores from most major critics and the band even embarked on a tour entitled Broken Social Scene Performs Kevin Drew’s Spirit If… While it is a fantastic album in its own right, Spirit If… probably wouldn’t have gained as much acclaim without the full band’s involvement.
Something For All of Us… (2008)
Something for All of Us… is the second album in the Broken Social Scene Presents… series, this time representing the work of other co-founder of Broken Social Scene, Brendan Canning. With Canning taking over most of the vocals, the album is much less chaotic sounding than Drew’s Spirit If… Oddly enough, the singles released from the album, “Love Is New”, “Churches Under the Stairs” and “Hit the Wall,” barely sound like a typical song by Broken Social Scene. Released only a year after Spirit If…, Something for All of Us… could easily be considered as an album of more mainstream-sounding tracks, which may have been a bit of a turn-off to devoted fans expecting more experimentally expansive songs.
Forgiveness Rock Record (2010)
After five grueling years, Broken Social Scene released their fourth studio album, Forgiveness Rock Record on May 4. The album definitely won’t disappoint but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Forgiveness Rock Record lacks the consistency that both You Forgot It in People and Broken Social Scene retained throughout. Fans will gravitate toward the first three songs the leaked to the public: “World Sick,” “Forced to Love” and “All to All”. The latter is actually a pretty historic track considering it is the first song that Leslie Feist, Emily Haines and Amy Millan recorded together – and boy can they harmonize! Every track on the album could potentially stand out as a favorite just because of their completely different sounds.
BY Elizabeth Vogt
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