Broken Social Scenes and Their Constituents

Jul 27th, 2010 in Music

Not to digress, but we mentioned previously that we love the band Broken Social Scene.  Both as a band and in their constituent parts, they have never hidden their musical hearts behind some paltry polemic or afterthought, though the lyrics would at times have you believe otherwise.  With bold melodies and inventive instrumentation, these scene-sters have always laid it out for all to see, broken and unvarnished.

We first heard from the Broken gang en masse at the millennium’s break, followed by the first to venture from the Scene, Feist and Metric (featuring Emily Haines, who recently appeared on, of all things, the Leno show–“Boredom’s Black Hole”–and unfortunately Haines chameleoned to match the insipid, smarmy host).  And then the key Scene-makers, Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, broke out anti-socially with stellar individual efforts.  And yet all of these efforts continued to be collaborative, with constituents contributing to the others’ collectives.

We assume you know and appreciate each and all of the above, but just in case, check out a few songs from Drew, Canning and BSS that we return to over and over.

First up is Kevin Drew and his great, great song, Gang Bang Suicide. Perhaps our favorite song of Drew’s (or anyone’s), it’s hard not to get lost in the beauty, building vocal rounds, and insinuating lyrics.  We especially like the mantras:

” they say size doesn’t count
but my heart is a house”

“well your mouth is a gun yeah your mouth is a gun…
you hate it all in you, you hate it all in you”

Kevin Drew–Gang Bang Suicide

[audio:|titles=07 Gang Bang Suicide]

Next up is Drew’s beauteous Bodhi Sappy Weekend. We can’t completely capture the lyrics, but hold on to luminous lines.

Kevin Drew–Bodhi Sappy Weekend

[audio:|titles=13 Bodhi Sappy Weekend]

Following is Drew’s flying, Feist-esque Safety Bricks. We love this song’s locomotion and coming-of-age lament, but especially the ending encouragement:

“You can never really start from the start
The ending begins inside of your heart
Well the people, they love to remember your name
It’s a hospital bed but it’s all just the same

Why did you leave when you were returned
Your past is your future, your future will learn
The crows that fly, we’ll try not to find
You do things once, you know you’ll do it twice

Still I want kids with safety bricks
And a car that’s quick
So we can split….

The middle should live inside of your brain
I’ll stop for a moment and try to refrain
I’m hoping you love just like when you were a kid
Let’s hop a fence and do what we always did”

Kevin Drew–Safety Bricks

[audio:|titles=04 Safety Bricks]

Next on the band-member hit parade is Brendan Canning, and his lucent Churches Under the Stairs.

We love the “ghost notes” vocals that begin at 1:24 and the subsequent wall-of-voices approach.   The song’s exact meaning is your best guess, but it moves us nonetheless.

“Give us some of the ghost notes
Give us some of the chosen, oh!
Give us some of the closing slots
Give us some of the falsest hope”

Brendan Canning–Churches Under the Stairs

[audio:|titles=05 Churches Under The Stairs]

We love the next song, Something for All of Us, and the vocals, which seem like how T-Rex’s Mark Bolan might have sounded had he survived his 70s traumas or been born twenty-five years later.

Brendan Canning–Something for All of Us

[audio:….mp3|titles=01 Something For All Of Us…]

And then Canning’s cunning Chameleon, which begins wordless and beautifully-horned and finishes with Feist and Canning’s great vocalisms.

Brendan Canning–Chameleon

[audio:|titles=02 Chameleon]

And now we come back to the band in the aggregate.

First from Broken Social Scene is Fire-Eyed Boy, which features the band’s signature bass/guitar-twinned melody line (borrowed from New Order), intricate guitar work and the lyrical encouragement/warning:

“Fire eyed boy, give em all the slip”

BSS–Fire-Eyed Boy

[audio:|titles=06 Fire Eye’d Boy]

The next song, Stars and Sons, features another bass-anchored melody line, but also with killing clapping (especially live)!

BSS–Stars and Sons

[audio:|titles=03 Stars And Sons]

And last but not least is the band’s great homage to Pavement, Ibi Dreams of Pavement, with its emphatic delivery and stellar stanzas:

“I got shot right in the back
and you were there
I said I was never coming back
and you were there, you were there”

Broken Social Scene–Ibi Dreams of Pavement

[audio:|titles=02 Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (A Better]

Finally, check out Feist and the boys on their video for the all-time, 7/24 Shoreline:

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