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Forgiveness Rock Record: A First Look

May 11th, 2010

BSS - Forgiveness Rock Record

What else could we have expected from a band like Broken Social Scene? Seriously.

We had Feel Good Lost, an ambient-encrusted foundation for BSS. Then we received You Forgot It In People, an album that can be characterized by listening to two songs: “Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” and “Cause = Time”. In other words, it was great. We were then handed a self-titled album, full of gems such as “7/4 (Shoreline)”, “Major Label Debut” and “Fire Eye’d Boy”. And now…oh boy. We’ve been *blessed* with a doozie. Three words:

Forgiveness Rock Record

A couple of months ago before the release of the record, I asked The Edge’s Dave Bookman and Eye Weekly’s Stuart Berman what they thought the new record would entail.

Dave Bookman said, “[It will contain] a more cohesive approach to the album format that other acts are abandoning these days.”

Stuart Berman said, “The success of Broken Social Scene’s albums can be attributed to a delicate balance: between structure versus sprawl; melody versus noise; order versus chaos; the anthemic versus the introspective; in-the-raw performances versus studio manipulation; tension versus bliss. Because it could all so easily tip in either direction — if they’re not careful, they could become just another faceless post-rock jam band, or they could go full-on U2 arena-rock. I think the first single, “World Sick,” is a good harbinger of what’s to come — on the one hand it’s an emotionally direct pop song with a catchy chorus; on the other hand, the song is seven minutes long and has this woozy, fever-dream quality to it. That’s why they take their sweet time making their albums — they want to get the balance just right.”

Oh, how right they were.

Forgiveness Rock Record seems to entail even more genuineness and naturalness than previous Broken Social Scene records. Choruses become anthems and verses become ambient jungles and medleys of instrumental bliss.

In the true spirit of a Broken Social Scene record, it becomes fully necessary to dissect each song to truly and fully understand the record in its entirety.

“World Sick” The first single released off of a record always needs to be bold. Bingo! “World Sick” is the perfect introduction to a record of this type. Each instrument is brought in, one by one, each compliment the last. And hey, when I was talking about the choruses sounding like anthems… this is pretty much what I was referring to. Close to seven minutes of cymbal crashing, Charles Spearin-moustache goodness.

“Chase Scene” My favourite intro to a song. Ever. Those first 30 seconds filled with “Whreeehhh”s is pretttaaay, prettttyyy epic. Then the buildup from 1:30 is just great. A great representation of how different a band can sound from general “rock.” Plain and simple, no other song out there sounds like “Chase Scene.” My second favourite track!

“Texico Bitches” For a song about bitches from New Mexico, it’s really, really catchy. Too catchy, maybe. The bass drum guides the whole song, with melodic lyrics and stringy instruments tagging along. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you hear it – I swear.

“Forced to Love” This is that song, with that chorus, that will make you dance and/or bop your head. It’s the lyrics, I think. But seriously, the best part are the riffs directly after the chorus. They’re the best.

“All to All” I’m trying to decide whether this is Leslie or Amy singing. I feel like it’s Ms. Feist. Whoever it is, they’re really good at what they do. Although they’re pretty much just talking to a (wicked) beat, it actually sounds so (!) good. Ah.

“Art House Director” We all saw this coming. A rocking, upbeat, (probably) awesome to perform song. I’m totally loving all the trumpeting that’s going on in this one. You can really hear that Broken Social Scene ambiance come through here. It’s a jam song, really. That’s what it sounds like, at least. It’s really, really nice to listen to. That’s all you really need to do.

“Highway Slipper Jams” I feel really bad for whoever has to belt out that first line of “Skidididieoeeooeaooo!!!!” during shows. Unfortunately, that first line is my favourite part of the song. I don’t know. It just isn’t for me. It’s too mellow, I think. Frowny face.

“Ungrateful Little Father” Yayaya! My favourite song on the record! Like “World Sick,” “Ungrateful Little Father” fully summarizes what you’re listening to. And also, once again, try finding this on any record released in the past 10 years. JUST TRY. It’s just so different – lyrically, instrumentally (seriously, I think I hear xylophones), etc. If you had to listen to one song, listen to this one. Comparable to “7/4 (Shoreline)” and “Anthems.” THAT GOOD!

“Meet Me in the Basement” Another jam/fun to perform song. This is quite a number. You need to listen to it to truly experience it. Tied with “Sentimental X’s” for my second fave!

“Sentimental X’s” Tied with “Meet Me in the Basement” for my second favourite song! Could this be due to the fact that Emily Haines takes on lead vocals in it? Why yes. I love everything about this song: the chorus, the soft-singing…ness, Emily, Emily, Emily. You better love this. I’ll take it personally if you don’t.

“Sweetest Kill” I love how this one almost sounds like it doesn’t have a chorus. It maintains a constant beat, partnered with some nonchalant vocals. Very nice.

“Romance to the Grave” This gets reaaallyy good from 2:00 on. It goes from (almost) opera style to (pretty much) funk rock. Surprisingly, it works really, really well. The two mix and it’s delightful.

“Water in Hell” ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ directly applies to this song. Oh, baby.

“Me and My Hand” A perfect end to an album five years in the making. Normally, a slow song of the sort would get me depressed, but there’s just something about it. It definitely has that Broken Social Scene touch, along with lots of other goodies. Also, the fact that the first word of the song is “vagina” and the last words are “I always love you” are bonuses.

When a Broken Social Scene record comes out, it’s always quite bittersweet. Bitter because we have to wait a few more years for another, but sweet… because it’s always f**king fantastic.

Forgiveness Rock Record is f**king fantastic.

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