Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Case File #34: "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl"

Broken Social Scene
"Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl"
You Forgot It In People

The need to know: For giving us Broken Social Scene, Canada gets a free pass for all other musical follies. Anchored by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, who both released albums under the "Broken Social Scene Presents..." banner, the BSS roster kinda reads like a who's who of Canadian indie rock, having included members of Stars, Metric, Feist, Do Make Say Think, k-os, The Weakerthans, Apostle of Hustle, and Jason Collett at one time or another. And, folks, those are just the ones I can remember off of the top of my head. A collective, rather than the dime-a-dozen "supergroup," the band pools its sound from the talents of its varied members, for a series of albums that don't quite sound like anything else out there these days. Their third official Broken Social Scene LP, Forgiveness Rock Record, is due out May 4th.

Why it's worthy: Perhaps I like this song so much because I've been a 17-year-old girl, and, although, far from the typical anthem stereotypes, "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl" is still a kind of rallying cry...just more the kind that draws from building banjo/guitar lines and a snapshot of heartbroken teenage angst (or is that grown-up nostalgia?). A song that thrives on repetition, "Anthems" uses Emily Haines' distorted vocals (a grown-up voice manipulated to mimic that of a child) to perfection, repeating lines over-and-over until the building momentum crushes you with all the haunted beauty you could fit in a broken, teenage heart.

Quotable lyric: "Used to be one of the rotten ones/ And I liked you for that"

Where you've heard it: Broken Social Scene has lent songs and written scores for several films and television shows, and most recently their cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" appeared in the 2009 film The Time Traveler's Wife

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