#FBF: Metric’s “Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?”

I get asked a lot — “Why are you into such weird [see: AMAZING] music?”
My answer? Normally something lame. “I don’t like the norm” or something to that effect.

Truly… it’s all thanks to my best friend: she introduced me to Metric.
This is where it all started.

Picture it: 2005. See, I was 18, just out of high school, and has started working at this (then) small movie theater/restaurant chain called The Alamo Drafthouse. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I thought I was cool and alternative, and OMG I learned about beer!

I’d always fancied myself a music-lover… and I was into some of the best mainstream ’90s rock around, tbh… When my friend bitch-slapped me into reality and (lovingly) showed me that I knew jack crap about true artistry. (In modern music, anyhow, as my upbringing was rife with Prince, The Cars, Lynyrd Skynyrd, KISS, and Blue Oyster Cult. My mom knew her stuff.)

Now, Canada-based Metric has grown to be one of the most richly developed indie music acts on the face of the planet. (They were even featured on a Twilight soundtrack, but I forgive them.) I’ve even been fortunate enough to have seen them live a couple times, and their shows are SECOND TO NONE. Seriously, if you get the chance, take it.

That all being said: Allow me to introduce one of my all-time, most favorite bands… Track-by-track…. With their debut album release.

I’ll just kick back and wait for the “Thank You”s to arrive. Listen along here, since YouTube and/or WordPress is being STUPID and won’t let me embed anything in the post. (WHY GIVE ME THE OPTION TO EMBED?! WHY?!)

Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
released 2 Sept 2003

1. IOU – So they named their album after the first phrase you hear? That’s awesome. I heard an interview recently about how Emily Haines (frontwoman and GODDESS) is always wary of title tracks. There’s so much to be proven with them! If you ask me, though, if they’d made this the title track it would have worked, anyhow. Their political commentary about war torn countries is spot-on, “Every 10 year old enemy soldier thinks falling bombs are shooting stars sometimes…” and their downtempo is flawless. If you know anything about me, it’s that I appreciate a good downtempo.

2. Hustle Rose – Synthy-goodness. Emily’s voice is effing brilliant, y’all. EFFING BRILLIANT. It’s that cool-girl calmness about it in this track that will get you sucked in, and you’ll stay for the inescapable beat. I used to chainsmoke those tiny little lollipop cigarettes and mellow the flip out to this back in the day. (I don’t smoke anymore — quit if YOU do! IJS. Nasty habit.)

3. Succexy – I hope you’ve accidentally heard this at some point in your life. Truly. It’s vintage indie perfection. I used to have dance parties for one to this, and quite often. “Nothing could beat complete denial!”

4. Combat Baby – THIS IS THE SHOT HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD. The very first song I ever heard, and I was never, ever the same again. Still heavy on my rotation, actually. Just listen to those lyrics! Listen to the layers of sound! The synth! Those raw vocals! “How I miss your ranting; do you miss my all-time lows?” Your playlists will never be the same.

5. Calculation Theme – Love song for the ages. This song actually has the power to bring me to tears, and it does. “I could be passive, gracefully…” The vulnerability in Emily’s voice is palpable, and coupled with the almost algorithmic background, the result is breathtaking.

6. Wet Blanket – I love how her voice changes with every track, don’t you? The way this album is designed with its track placement is simply genius, btw. Notice how it keeps you interested! No boring crap, not for a second. Now, go slip on some of your best ankle booties and start kicking up your heels, dammit!

7. On a Slow Night – Nowhere near as mellow as the title would suggest, amirite? Just take the time and listen to the innovation on this track… all those elements in the background have been expertly executed. Producer Michael Andrews steered them RIGHT.

8. The List – Are you on the list, or aren’t you? Relevant socio-political commentary, and you wouldn’t know it if you were drunk and dancing like you’re supposed to be when listening to this song! IJS.

9. Dead Disco – For the continuation of your drunk dance party. Probably one of the most definitive tracks for this group. A little bit of shock, a lotta bit of mayhem, consistently fun.

10. Love Is a Place – You’ve heard me comment on how I get bored with a “slow jam” closer. I think this was the biggest drawback when listening to this album for the first few years… I kinda stopped the album after Dead Disco (if I listened straight through). However, once I got over myself and listened to it again, it occurred to me that the end of this track serves more as a segue to the next album. It leaves you wanting more. Seriously, this was quiet genius track design. QUIET GENIUS.

 FINAL THOUGHTS: Don’t stop here when it comes to Metric, y’all. Their evolution since this debut full-length has been tremendous to follow, and I’m chomping at the bit to see what they do next! (If that imagery makes you think I’m like the rabid weirdo you see camping out at tour buses… yeah, I’d definitely be that for this band. And I don’t care what you think.) While they didn’t achieve perfection with this album, they started off with a solid platform! ♦♦♦♦¼/5.

→HEY!!!! Before you go… Enjoy this on-screen version of “Black Sheep” from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World — See?! You HAVE heard of them! (Mad props to Brie Larson for doing it such justice, btw.)←

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